ServiceNow has released the results of a new report, ‘Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point,’ revealing that a majority of organisations have introduced advanced automation in their workplace and nearly half of executives surveyed say that they’ll require it more broadly by 2018 to cope with rising work volumes.
The survey indicated that adding machines to everyday work drives revenue growth, creates new job opportunities and connects employees back to the work they want to do.
The company surveyed more than 1,850 corporate leaders – C-level, VPs, directors and managers – to evaluate the workload of organisational leaders, the impact and use of automation in common business services and executives’ opinions on the future of work. The survey also evaluated the relationship between organisational automation levels and financial performance. The findings include:
Companies are approaching a breaking point and urgently need intelligent automation
- By 2018, about half of companies (46%) say they will need greater automation to handle the volume of tasks being generated. By 2020, nearly 9 out of 10 companies (86%) will hit that breaking point.
• More than three-quarters (78%) say data from mobile devices and the Internet of Things contribute to the overload.
• 94% agree that intelligent automation could increase productivity. This includes artificial intelligence or machine learning to streamline decision making to improve the speed and accuracy of business processes.
• Over half of those surveyed (54%) have started using intelligent automation in one or more business processes. 87% plan to investigate or use intelligent automation moving forward.
“In a world of smarter homes, cars and commerce, the workplace has been a holdout – but not for long,” said Dave Wright, Chief Strategy Officer, ServiceNow. “The shift to greater automation is coming now to transform everyday work.”
More automation delivers financial growth and promises greater productivity
- Highly automated companies are 6x more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 15% versus companies with low automation.
• For example, those companies with more than 20% revenue growth are 61% automated on average, whereas those with flat or negative growth are only 35% automated.
“The financial payoff for automation is one companies can’t ignore,” said Wright.
Less than half of business processes are automated; HR and Customer Service are the worst
- Overall only 42% of business processes are automated and business leaders suffer, spending two full days or 16 hours a week on manual administrative tasks.
• IT support is the best at business process efficiency, while Human Resources (HR) is the worst. HR was named the department ‘most in need of a reboot’.
• Specifically, only 37% of HR delivery of employee services are automated and 33% of resolving customer issues are, compared to IT services at 53% automated, leaving room for improvement across the board.
Executives believe automation can create jobs despite employees’ fears of job losses
- 79% of execs believe automation could lead to job creation.
• 87% of execs say employees are worried that automation will eliminate jobs.
• The top three obstacles to automation adoption include: committing the resources (budget and personnel) required, employees’ resistance to change and concerns about eliminating jobs.
“Automation will bring new economic opportunities,” said Wright. “Companies need to develop and evolve their teams’ skills to help them thrive in an automated world.”
Adding machines frees up employees to do the work they want to do – spurring creativity
- Nearly half (48%) say that work levels have increased by 20% or more in the last year.
• 91% of executives say their skilled employees spend too much time on admin tasks.
• 93% believe that reducing mundane tasks unleashes employee creativity.
• 82% find it difficult to hire people with skills needed to grow their business.
• 94% say automation will increase demand for soft skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving and communication.
“Employees feel they’re working a sixth day every week,” said Wright. “Machines can take on the burden of busy work and free up employees to do the creative, innovative work they crave.”
To avoid hitting the breaking point, ServiceNow has these recommendations for executives.
1) Identify business processes that need improving in HR, customer service, IT or other departments.
2) Map out the critical business services and automate the workloads with intelligent automation.
3) Work with teams to address concerns and provide reassurance for your roadmap.
4) Employ best practices around change management.
5) Develop and evolve the team’s skills to help them thrive in an automated worldk.