Navigating the Future: The Rise of AI-Powered Automation in Enterprise
January 23, 2024

Ritu Dubey
Digitate

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In the business landscape today, automation is no longer considered a luxury, it has become a necessity. It plays a crucial role in enhancing business resilience, elevating employee and customer experiences, and securing a competitive edge. A Gartner report found that a staggering 80% of executives believe that automation can be seamlessly integrated into any business decision.

A recent report, AI and Automation: Laying the Foundation for the Autonomous Enterprise, conducted by Digitate in collaboration with Sapio Research, further reinforces the significance of automation. The survey findings shed light on the pervasive integration of AI and automation in today's organizations and underscores the central role of these technologies in shaping future business strategies.

The findings indicate that 90% of IT decision-makers have strategic plans to implement more automation, including AI, within the next 12 months. Impressively, 58% of these organizations aim to roll out automation initiatives within the next six months.

The enthusiasm for automation is evident across sectors, with 26% planning to implement greater autonomous operations over the next five years, split between semi-autonomous (16%) and fully autonomous (10%) systems. That said, keeping humans in the loop will also remain critical, as 30% reported their organization will have an equal proportion of automation and human processing.

It's apparent from the survey findings that IT leaders are acutely aware that survival hinges on embracing AI-powered automation. The research showed most companies realize this and are taking urgent action to increase investment in this area. The shift is palpable as enterprises not only recognize the necessity of AI and automation but are actively leveraging these technologies to enhance business KPIs, elevate employee productivity, and boost customer satisfaction, ultimately propelling themselves toward the coveted status of an autonomous enterprise. The survey delivered several other interesting insights across a diverse range of operational areas, including:

IT Complexity as a Top Internal Challenge

44% of respondents identify growing IT complexity as the most significant internal challenge, attributed to the complexities of cloud migration and adoption. With 92% already having or planning a multi-vendor cloud strategy, the survey reveals a clear correlation — two-thirds of IT leaders plan to implement additional IT automation in the next 12 months to streamline operations amidst this evolving landscape.

Automate or Be Left Behind

The automation wave is sweeping through various organizational departments, with IT (90%), finance (89%), and customer support (89%) leading the charge. As enterprises experiment with different forms of automation, the report highlights that 74% have delved into generative AI, followed by workflow automation (68%) and AIOps (65%). The urgency is evident, as organizations strive to stay competitive and resilient in the face of technological disruption.

AI's Impact on the Workforce

The rapid adoption of automation prompts reflections on the workforce's future. Surprisingly, 26% of IT leaders express concerns about workplace insecurity and job redundancy for employees. Paradoxically, 60% of decision-makers acknowledge that implementing automation has resulted in both improved employee satisfaction and increased productivity. Striking a balance between technological advancement and workforce well-being remains a pivotal challenge for organizations navigating this transformative journey.

Cybersecurity: An Ongoing Concern

Cybersecurity emerges as the foremost external risk, with 54% of IT decision-makers highlighting it over concerns of a recession (36%). Despite this, only 38% have deployed automation to address cybersecurity risks, indicating a gap between recognizing the threat and actively mitigating it. Nevertheless, 49% of respondents plan to implement some form of automation within the next six months, showcasing a growing awareness of the need for proactive cybersecurity measures.

What’s encouraging about the report is that as enterprises pivot towards autonomous operations the interplay of AI and automation emerges as a linchpin for success. Navigating challenges, addressing workforce concerns, and proactively managing cybersecurity risks are integral components of this transformative journey. The report serves as a compass, guiding organizations through the complexities of the digital landscape as they embrace the future powered by AI and automation.

2024 is going to be an interesting year!

Methodology: The report draws insights from a comprehensive survey of 601 US-based IT leaders responsible for technology decisions within large organizations (>1,000 employees), with a strong representation across diverse industries like manufacturing, technology, retail/eCommerce, and financial services.

Ritu Dubey is Global Head of New Business Sales and Market Development at Digitate
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