Companies in the digital world are facing more complex challenges than ever before. As artificial intelligence (AI) process automation software capabilities have drastically improved, organizations need to overcome fast-moving barriers to staying competitive.
AI and Automation Processes
The global market for automation software and services is growing exponentially, and it’s expected to reach $1.2 billion in 2021. This is in large part due to the shift of capabilities in software over the last two decades. Automation processes have moved from primary functions to sophisticated, AI-driven processes. Although the benefits of intelligent automation include cost savings and reduced systems recovery time, some companies are worried that the transition to automated processes will disrupt organizational culture and development. The hesitancy to utilize these automation methods creates significant systemic issues within companies, as employees become more wary of new, technology-driven changes.
Automation in the Workplace
It is important to emphasize that to use automation successfully, companies must find a way for employees and AI systems to interact. A study of companies with extensive automation investments found that only 44% of leaders implementing these automation processes have definitive plans to retrain employees on how to work with the new systems. This divide only feeds into one of the biggest misconceptions around automation, which is that entire occupations will be automated. Instead, it is far more reasonable to expect that certain activities within different jobs will be automated when these services are implemented. Because of this potential resistance from the workforce, it is important to treat employees as valued stakeholders in the process to reduce possible fear, uncertainty and stress surrounding any change.
As a company looking to implement automation processes, you should emphasize that AI services allow employees to spend less time on manual, low-value tasks and put their importance on company-client relations and high-level opportunities. Also, there is a belief that automation processes will only affect those in lower-level positions. However, the reality of automation is that it will affect all levels of occupations, ranging from the C-suite to the front line. These jobs and processes will need to be redefined for companies to gain the full advantage of automation potential.
In reality, studies have found that fewer than 5% of occupations can be entirely automated. So, it is important to remind employees that job insecurity is not in direct correlation with automation. Instead, around 60% of jobs could have approximately 30% of their current activities automated. These activities generally include tasks such as analyzing data and reports, preparing assignments and reviewing status updates. These could be transferred over to automated operating systems, and will allow employees to spend more time on higher-level demands which require human interaction.
This shift does not equal job replacement, but job restructuring. Automation requires companies to redefine occupational roles and business processes for their existing employees. When implementing these systems, be aware of how it affects your employees and how to properly navigate the changing structure that will occur to assure employees that they remain valuable and meaningful parts of your business.
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