IT Teams Are Increasing Investment in Automation - Why and How You Should Do the Same
June 21, 2023

Shawn Herring

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It has been talked about at length, but the workforce has changed dramatically since 2020, and it continues to evolve. Roles have shifted, the way we meet and collaborate has changed, and we've seen a significant increase in burnout and other challenges.

Professionals in the IT and Operations spaces are especially feeling the effects of a changing workforce. They are dealing with massive layoffs, the threat of a challenging economy, shadow IT, and cybersecurity risks. In addition, colleagues across their organizations are finding and implementing tech solutions on their own, which leads to a whole host of other issues.

A recent survey sponsored by airSlate took a deeper look into what's happening across IT and Ops departments and how embracing automation can get everyone back on track.

Too Much Work Outside of Regular Responsibilities

In a survey of 522 IT and Ops professionals, the number one concern was found to be that team members would be pulled in to problem-solve and fix poorly implemented solutions.

A majority of IT and Ops pros ( 60%) faced increased workloads outside of their original roles and responsibilities.

Mass layoffs contributed to increased workloads, with 71% of IT and Ops professionals having already experienced layoffs in the 6 months prior to the survey.

The effect of constant problem-solving is that there is less time to focus on work that really matters — work like creating infrastructures and processes that level-up organizations, prioritize security, drive productivity, and result in positive outcomes.

Risks Associated with Shadow IT

85% of surveyed IT professionals are concerned about shadow IT projects, which involve hardware, software, or resources that are introduced without an IT department's authorization or oversight.

Shadow IT is a real problem. As already mentioned, it can take precious time away from business growth efforts, but beyond that, shadow IT can compromise security, cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars, and can negatively impact organizational infrastructure.

While working remotely has highlighted our desire to be more autonomous and spend less time on routine work, organizations need to put up guardrails to ensure that tech solutions are properly implemented and used.

This is where IT personnel and other colleagues can work together for the good of the entire organization.

70% of organizations favor citizen development efforts. Citizen developers are employees who reside outside the IT department and often have the skills needed to build apps and automate workflows using low-code/no-code tools.

Alongside governance from the IT team, citizen developers can help fuel the productivity and efficiency of an organization. Fortunately, 92% of IT teams believe their teams have the skills needed to implement and leverage workflow automation solutions, and they can make sure this is done properly by:

■ Informing staff about approved tools and providing them access

■ Defining security protocols

■ Offering ongoing mentorship and support

Embracing Automation Solutions

Almost 41% of IT and Ops professionals are still spending too much time on manual administrative tasks, which hampers their overall productivity. IT and Ops pros want to see positive change and are asking for more automated solutions, clearer priorities, and more autonomy to implement solutions. Many companies are already responding by taking steps to introduce more automation into their operations.

75% of teams are planning on increasing their investment in automation, with the vast majority already using low-code/no-code tools. And the results speak for themselves.

A whopping 94% of organizations who have implemented automation tools say that it has increased their productivity.

Given the favorable outcomes, in the next 12-18 months IT and Ops teams plan to prioritize automation for document workflows relating to Finance, Sales, and Marketing.

When it comes to automation, more than 63% of IT and Ops personnel are looking for tools that meet specific requirements, such as tools that:

■ Are cost-efficient

■ Improve productivity and streamline outdated processes

■ Prioritize security and privacy for sensitive documentation

Challenging Times Need Innovative Solutions

It's clear that we are still facing challenges and are still adjusting to a transforming workforce. The good news is that we have evidence that investing in automation and monitoring the use of automation tools within an organization results in increased productivity, efficiency, and a more satisfied workforce.

The results of this survey should prompt leaders to ask questions about their strategic plans, such as:

■ Are we giving automation as much attention as we should?

■ How do I expect to maintain a competitive advantage?

■ How can I invest in my talent pool so they feel heard, appreciated, and supported?

■ What can I prioritize in the next 3, 6, and 12 months to put us on the right track?

■ If I don't embrace automation and AI, what are the repercussions? Can we survive those repercussions?

Shawn Herring is CMO of airSlate
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