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ServiceNow: 2018 will be the year of automation

ServiceNow has released the results of a new report, titled “Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point,” which revealed that a majority of organisations have introduced advanced automation in their workplace.

Dave Wright, ServiceNow, automation
Dave Wright, ServiceNow

According to the study, 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 study found that about half of the companies surveyed (46 percent) say they will need greater automation to handle the volume of tasks being generated.

It also highlighted that by 2020, nearly nine out of 10 companies (86 percent) will hit a breaking point with more than three-quarters (78 percent) say data from mobile devices and the Internet of Things contribute to the overload. 94 percent 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 percent) have started using intelligent automation in one or more business processes and 97 percent 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.”

The report then showed that only half of business processes are automated within the organisations’ surveyed with HR and customer service being the worst adopters. Overall only 42 percent of business processes are automated, and business leaders suffer, spending two full days or 16 hours a week on manual administrative tasks. It added that 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,’ with only 37 percent of HR delivery of employee services are automated.

Executives believe automation can create jobs despite employees’ fears of job losses with 79 percent of execs believe automation could lead to job creation. “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.”

To avoid hitting the breaking point, ServiceNow has recommendations for executives. Start here:

  • Identify business processes that need improving in HR, customer service, IT or other departments
  • Map out the critical business services and automate the workloads with intelligent automation
  • Work with teams to address concerns and provide reassurance for your roadmap
  • Employ best practices around change management
  • Develop and evolve the team’s skills to help them thrive in an automated world
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