IT Leaders Expand Automation Efforts to Optimize Business Processes

I&O leaders plan to ramp up their automation efforts over the next few years to increase the speed and quality of their business processes, as well as free up more time to innovate.

Nathan Eddy

November 1, 2022

4 Min Read
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The shift to automation is accelerating, and infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders are looking to expand on their automation efforts, according to a survey of 304 I&O leaders in North America.

The report from IT research firm Gartner found the vast majority (85%) of I&O leaders who haven't yet fully automated plan to scale up their automation efforts over the next three years.

The reason behind such a great interest in automation is the opportunity to increase productivity, efficiency, speed, and quality of business processes, according to Yinuo Geng, vice president of technology at Gartner.

"This also then provides room for businesses to innovate," she said. "There is some indication that organizations may seek to prioritize investment in automation as a way to manage cost."

The value of lowering costs is not the most common value driver for automation in the short term, as opposed to efficiency and productivity, and so organizations need to establish a clear strategy for automation, according to Geng.

However, the survey results also suggested I&O leaders face headwinds when trying to estimate automation ROI and shift the workforce mindset to be more agile, iterative, and consumer-centric.

IT Leaders Struggling with Automation Efforts

Related:Is NoOps and a Future of Fully Automated IT Operations Within Reach?

Other challenges arise as they look to improve processes and acquire automation skills — a meager 21% of survey respondents said they've had "high levels of success" in their I&O automation endeavors. 

"The best way to make the case for investment in automation is to identify the most important business goals for the organization and then cascade it down to how automation can help the business meet those goals."

— Yinuo Geng, vice president of technology, Gartner

Geng said I&O executives should prioritize initiatives that are reusable and support innovation and emerging business priorities.

"The best way to make the case for investment in automation is to identify the most important business goals for the organization and then cascade it down to how automation can help the business meet those goals," she added.

For a successful expansion of automation technology, it's important, she said, for stakeholders to target business goals and empower local teams.

"However, make sure you're also encouraging learnings to be shared across the organization, and continuously evolve a portfolio of automation initiatives," Geng added.

The report also notes automation is essential for I&O to scale for the rising demands of digital business, with automation technologies helping to support IT in enabling speed to market.

Related:10 Enterprise Automation Trends to Watch in 2022

Automation can also increase business agility, ensure compliance with security and regulatory requirements, and optimize service costs.

Businesses Turn to Automation to Deliver Seamless Experiences

Businesses are prioritizing automation to deliver exceptional experiences, said Daniel Levy, vice president of product marketing at Camunda, a workflow and decision automation platform.

"Customers expect fast and seamless experiences, and if company A doesn't deliver, they'll go to company B," he explained. "Seamless experiences are quickly becoming table stakes."

"Automation is the critical path to both better customer experiences and streamlined operations."

— Daniel Levy, VP of product marketing, Camunda

The outlook is shifting into economic uncertainty, and companies are looking to tighten up operational efficiencies to ensure they can persevere pending economic turbulence, Levy said.

"Automation is the critical path to both better customer experiences and streamlined operations," he said.

While organizations will be forced to make cuts across many areas of their business, technology spending around digital transformation initiatives will likely grow — from Levy's perspective, companies can't afford not to invest.

Consider JP Morgan Chase, whose 2022 IT budget topped $14 billion according to recent reports.

"There and across the Fortune 500, IT spending — and more specifically, investing in automation and transformation initiatives — will remain an imperative," Levy said.

He added that as organizations expand the number of projects on the journey toward being a fully automated enterprise, the decision will likely come from technology leaders such as CIOs.

"Successful automation requires a partnership between business and IT," he explained. "They need to work closely to understand and document fully end-to-end processes."

With this understanding, it's possible to orchestrate and automate business processes.

"As automation initiatives take root in an organization, look to organize practices under a Center of Excellence, which will ensure companywide standards and best practices," Levy said.

About the Author(s)

Nathan Eddy

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITProToday and covers various IT trends and topics across wide variety of industries. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he is also a documentary filmmaker specializing in architecture and urban planning. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

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