Chief executives behind new automation drive

The UK's chief executives are increasingly taking personal responsibility for driving the business case for intelligent automation to boost productivity and growth, according to new research.

Chief executives behind new automation drive
A report compiled by Thoughtonomy and the Teknowlogy Group concluded British businesses were planning a "dramatic" increase in their use of AI and automation technology over the next five years.Some 60 per cent reported plans to automate at least a tenth of all operational processes by 2025, double the current level, and 38 per cent expected to have automated more than a fifth of their processes by then – a sharp increase from the current seven per cent.

Chief execs get involved in automation initiatives

The report, 'Taking Automation to the Next Level', said that, rather than being solely the domain of the IT department or specific business units, AI and automation strategy was now being driven at the most senior levels within organisations.Currently, the research found that 55 per cent of CEOs are now personally involved in building a business case for new automation initiatives.And the research found that while the main goal of the first wave of AI was to deliver cost reductions, the latest moves towards Intelligent Automation, where AI is integrated with robotic process automation (RPA) technology, were primarily aimed at improving productivity.
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Terry Walby, chief executive of Thoughtonomy, says, "This research indicates that many organisations are now setting their sights beyond RPA and moving quickly through the first wave of Intelligent Automation - where digital labour is primarily about streamlining processes and removing cost - to the second and third wave, where digital labour becomes a strategic asset to change and optimise the way that organisations run their entire operations."And what's exciting is that with this shift, the benefits become far greater - increased productivity, more robust regulatory compliance, enhanced capacity and more fulfilling work for staff, and more agility and scalability of resource across the entire organisation."As we have been predicting, Intelligent Automation will become the major catalyst for growth, innovation and differentiation across nearly all sectors."

Revenue streams as a target for future automation

The study suggested new factors would emerge to support the business case for automation, with more than half of companies saying that creating new or enhanced revenue streams would become a main target for future automation.Nick Mayes, principal analyst at Teknowlogy, says, "Many organisations that have already deployed robotic process automation and experienced the benefits for themselves are clearly now waking up to the fact that the integration of AI and machine learning into their automation strategies means that the possibilities are becoming so much greater."This research shows that strategy leaders are eager to accelerate their intelligent automation programmes but they should take the time to develop a robust and future-looking strategy, with the right governance, skills and technology platform in place, so that they can scale at speed, but in a controlled and effective way."

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