Automation technologies will transform operations


The Pegasystems study highlights the growing place of automation technologies in operational functions, without however replacing the human.

A study by Pegasystems on operational functions shows that the use of automation will become widespread in order to maintain efficiency.

AdvertisingOperational teams play a key role in the execution of business projects, transformation and strategy. According to a study by the publisher Pegasystems, carried out among 750 operations managers in three major geographical areas, including Europe, these functions are now facing major changes. However, half of the respondents believe that today’s operations do not benefit from the level of technological investment necessary to remain truly effective in this context.

Five major disruptions are on the horizon for operational functions. The first is ubiquitous automation: 71% of respondents see automating routine IT and administrative tasks as transforming their business, with a similar proportion citing optimizing workflows with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, as well as corporate governance form the second vector of transformation, cited by 68% and 64% of respondents respectively. The third is taking diversity into account in operational models, a priority for 61% of respondents. In fourth place come regulatory constraints, with 52% of respondents considering regulatory changes a real challenge. Finally, the last issue concerns cybersecurity and fraud, cited by 59% of respondents.

Rather than zero ops, hybrid models

Faced with these underlying trends, the operational managers interviewed point to several needs. 73% believe that they will have to better manage risks and changes in activities and as many believe that technology will be decisive in the next five years to improve their resilience and their forecasting capabilities. Nearly seven in ten also cite access to good quality data and 68% the need to improve internal and external collaboration. In terms of technologies, those that appear to be priorities, apart from the essential cybersecurity cited by 73% of respondents, are mainly aimed at automating tasks and providing real-time visibility on operations: thus, 68% of respondents cite data and real-time intelligence and 64% customer self-service. Process automation, Internet of Things, intelligent automation and predictive analytics are cited by 63% each.

This shift in technology has led some market analysts to predict a future with zero operations in some industries, where processes will be fully automated. However, according to the respondents, obstacles persist in the field. Thus, 35% of them think that it would be too costly to automate everything; 26% say that regulations make automation too difficult and 24% find some aspect of their operations too complex to automate. Finally, almost 30% of respondents indicate that they have made a commitment to offer a more humanized customer experience, suggesting that hybrid models combining automation and people may have a better future.

AdvertisingTowards increased specialization for operational functions

The increased use of automation will nevertheless change the role of operational functions, which will become increasingly specialised. Thus, 48% of managers surveyed say they will need to hire more specialists to manage operations that cannot be automated or digitized, while more than a third (36%) plan to reduce the number of generalist profiles in the operational roles. In addition, technology and digital skills will also grow in importance, with 32% of respondents considering them essential. Operations function leaders will also need to develop in other areas, including business strategy (31%) and collaboration (26%), considered key skills.

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Automation technologies will transform operations

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