Australian and New Zealand businesses are ramping up their investments in digital automation, recognising the critical role it now plays in maintaining business continuity, improving efficiencies, and enhancing the employee experience.
Many businesses have begun using automation driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning to reinvent how they operate, with the aim of achieving enhanced levels of business resilience.
In addition to managing geographically-dispersed work teams and embedding permanent changes to business operations brought by the pandemic, businesses are increasingly relying on automation to meet the changing needs of employees.
A fallout from the pandemic has been that many employees are re-evaluating their needs when it comes to workplace flexibility. To attract and retain the best talent, organisations must now provide new options for employees that include offering flexible hours, shorter working weeks, and compensation that aligns with outputs rather than hours spent working. The key to achieving this is automation.
A 2022 global employment survey found that 63 per cent of professionals now sought work-life balance as a top priority above compensation and benefits, and workplace culture.
Another business survey found that nine out of 10 knowledge workers said automation had improved people’s lives in the workplace, and 65 per cent of workers had become less stressed since manual processes were replaced by automation. As a result, 66 per cent of organisations said automation was essential for running their business.
The biggest shift to automation has been in financial processes that include travel, invoice and expense management. These processes are core to business operations and impact most employees, so it makes sound business sense to automate processes that provide the biggest return on investment both in terms of improved efficiencies and better employee experiences.
Retaining skilled employees who hold corporate knowledge, and improving business and cost efficiencies, is vital to navigating the current evolving economic landscape. Automation provides the employee enablement tools and real-time data insights that organisations need to achieve much greater levels of business agility.
With 63 per cent of businesses believing that automation let them quickly pivot and provide new products or services, or even completely change business models in response to the pandemic, it is becoming key to business survival. The need for automation will continue to grow with the world now shifting to a digital business landscape. Organisations that have already started their digital transformation journey by automating core processes are likely to maintain greater levels of business resilience, better cost efficiencies, and a competitive edge over those that still rely on manual processes.
Even after the pandemic is no longer considered a threat, the digital business landscape will continually evolve much faster than we have ever seen before. This means that automation will become more critical to sustaining core business operations within the next few years.