According to Deloitte, more than half of all businesses are planning to invest in automation in 2023. It’s a trend that is moving across sectors and is being deployed in a wide variety of ways. And despite growing concerns about the ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential for bias, 97% of organisations believe that business process automation is crucial for digital transformation. With the allure of automation’s ‘get more done with less time, effort, and human capital’ reputation, and the increasing need to enhance productivity and value, it raises the question; which direction is the technology likely to head in the next twelve months?
No Code Low Code Will Become Key
No code low code (NCLC) has been a rapidly growing area of innovation for years. And with the intensifying demand for automation across sectors with minimal implementation and maintenance time, NCLC solutions are becoming the priority. While bespoke, optimised automation will remain the sophisticated option for large profile, high-value businesses, NCLC options designed to deliver a customisable ‘drag and drop’ automation solution serving the under-resourced small and medium businesses will play a significant role in 2023’s developments. Potentially even leading the market share.
Automation as a Part of Digital Transformation
Automation has typically been deployed to deal with simple, time-hungry processes. But with economic pressures increasing, small to medium businesses are likely to begin driving towards the use of automation in internal systems and as part of digital transformation. Seeking to improve productivity, reduce data capture and data processing errors, and reduce human capital costs, automation has the power to rapidly and cost-efficiently scale core operational processes.
‘Data-driven’ has become a buzz phrase in the last two to three years. But while it has been integral in AI and human decision-making, it’s often considered a different discipline to automation, which has generally dealt with fixed processes. However, we’re going to see a change in this area. Thanks to advancements in machine learning (ML) and the opportunities for the gathering of massive data sets presented by the Internet of Things (IoT), data-driven automation is becoming not only a possibility but a highly desired reality.
The Move Towards Hyperautomation
Riding on the coattails of ML and data-driven automation is hyperautomation. A process that will see existing automated solutions being amplified or expanded through the use of AI, ML, and robotic process automation (RPA). Used for the intelligent scaling of existing automated systems, hyperautomation will take the time-saving elements of business operations to a whole new level.
We’re Gonna Need More Tools
Of course, as automation and AI advance and their application broadens, we will see a demand for more tools to optimise deployment and maximise accessibility. Gartner has already predicted that 40% of businesses will use multi-vendor strategies to automate their business processes by 2024. Meaning that multi-vendor tool production and optimisation is going to become a priority., and a move back towards “best-in-breed” over “All-in-Suite” as a strategy for considering techstack configurations.
Customer experience (CX) has been a trend for some time, with chatbots and conversational AI being at the forefront of ‘creating personalised experiences for buyers.’ But conversational AI has evolved, with the likes of ChatGPT showing the world what, with the right data sets, AI is really capable of. This, compounded by the drive of economic pressure, means that we’re likely to see a resurgence in the use of these technologies to both reduce labour costs in customer service, and improve CX for customers.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has been one of the leading tech changes of the last decade. No one buys anything anymore. No one pays for a licence outright. But in automation, that is not necessarily the case. That is now going to change. So far this year, we’ve already seen some investment in SaaS automation solutions, such as Salesforce Einstein AI and Hubspots’ ChatSpot and with more and more companies releasing AI-driven tools, or adding AI features to existing products, the demand for SaaS will accelerate over the next year. And we’re going to see serious investment in this area.
At this point, we are early in the Gartner Hype Cycle for AI. Larger companies are investing heavily to capitalise on the early adopter competitor advantage and for these large companies that already have deep pockets, large customer bases, and large datasets, the potential to train AI systems to improve productivity is being made a reality through the ability to secure large-scale investment. However, automation is no longer merely the remit of the large business. It is being adopted across sectors by all types and sizes of business, which is going to mean significant investment across the space, from the easy-access LCNC tools, to the more bespoke solutions of the leading enterprises.
John Duboyski, founder of Flux Digital Labs a leading Marketing Analytics & Automation Agency.