Why Automation Matters during a Global Crisis
Economic analysts say the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate automation as consumers prefer automated services than face-to-face interactions.
One fact that the spread of the novel coronavirus exposed is that automation matters in the time of a crisis. Recent weeks have seen a surge in consumer online activities as lockdown measures limit people mobility. Consumers have ramped up online shopping to meet their needs. Businesses in the e-commerce industry that have invested in automation were more resilient to such challenge while others still struggle to weather the pandemic storm.
Companies that had implemented digital strategies prior to the outbreak were able to act quickly and prepare for the forced work-from-home arrangements. Of course, there are some problems with this work environment, but thanks to automation they can now measure productivity, keep community, and manage their at-home workforce.
Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of management consulting and research firm Everest Group, says the forced work-from-home model during the pandemic allows companies to look anew at how they conduct business. Automation challenges all prejudices and paradigms, and forces a re-examination of long-held firm principles or beliefs about where to conduct work and the ecosystems that support those activities.
Amid this gloomy scenario, companies now realize that they can significantly supplement a wide variety of functions with their work-from-home model, Samuel states. Automation capabilities such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) enable businesses to automate tedious tasks and free workers to focus on higher value work.
Adaptable automation tools and productivity tracking applications have a significant role to play across multiple facets of remote working. Through the deployment of automated technologies, businesses can sustain their production levels with minimum risk while ensuring the safety of their employees working alongside virtual robots.
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Forrester Research recently released two reports that provide insight on how automation will play a vital role in aiding economies strive and recover in the post-pandemic era.
In their report titled “The COVID-19 Crisis Will Accelerate Enterprise Automation Plans,” Forrester Research says that one of the “lasting legacies [of the pandemic] will be a renewed focus on automation.”
“Automation has been a major force reshaping work since long before the pandemic; now, it’s taking on a new urgency in the context of business risk and resiliency.”
The report states that automation will be a boardroom imperative in this recovery. It will handle human-dependent processes that newly remote workers may not be able to perform, help reduce and predict risks in case of future crises. Automation will help build adaptiveness into businesses’ recovery plan.
Forrester Research also notes the importance of adjusting automation roadmap to adapt to the current crisis in their report titled “Your Automation Psychology And Roadmap Just Shifted Gears.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy that we must turn into an opportunity for change, the report states. “Enterprises have a chance to develop new ways of working, invent new business models, and wring inefficiency from tired business processes. This crisis will divide companies into those that grasp the need for digital transformation and those that don’t. Your automation priorities need to change.”
The report concludes that organizations “need to focus on their robotics quotient (RQ) and the four competency areas of RPA maturity—process, people, governance, and technology”—in order to see the true value of automation in a post-pandemic world.