Automation has been a key driver of innovation in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and labor shortages caused an increase in the use of robotics and AI to improve efficiency.
By 2025, the value of the global automation market is expected to exceed $265 billion. To reduce risk and improve results, businesses should implement effective automation systems. However, in the current economic climate, it can be challenging to identify investment areas and maintain adequate IT budgets in the looming recession.
This article provides an overview of automation systems in business processes, exploring trends for 2023 and beyond. Below are three examples of automation systems that will give your business a competitive advantage.
Streamline tasks with process automation
RPA helps to automate repetitive, low-value tasks, such as filling out forms and entering data. RPA is being increasingly adopted across a variety of industries from finance to healthcare, and its use is expected to rise significantly in 2023 as businesses strive to tackle staff shortages and improve efficiency.
RPA is used for monotonous tasks where the chance of human error is higher. This way, employees can focus on more important tasks and speed up processes. Human resource management is one of the largest sectors benefitting from RPA. For example, automating onboarding operations in the National Health Service let hospitals keep hiring new talent at a speed that would be impossible to sustain for humans.
This can have lifesaving outcomes for patients, as automation also enables the gathering of meaningful data to predict when staff will be needed. In the past, automation has been seen as a double-edged sword due to fear of job losses. In our experience working on machine learning (ML) and AI projects, we have found the opposite to be true.
Our partners have used AI to increase the value of human work with data and analytical processes. Similarly, RPA has enabled greater focus on the tasks that will always require human interaction, and we expect these trends to continue to increase in pace.
Harness data analytics with generative AI
Generative AI is a type of ML that creates new content and interprets information using neural networks. This technique has been widely used to create imagery, but the possibilities are endless -- from software development to fraud detection and risk management.
Businesses can use this technology for predictive maintenance and better data analytics, including cybersecurity analytics. According to data from the Infotech Research Group, AI will receive the most net-new investment from organizations by the end of 2023. The research found that 35% of organizations are already investing in it, while 44% are planning to do so in the new year.
Specifically, 65% of organizations said they plan to use generative AI for business analytics or intelligence. Many organizations struggle with a lack of structured data. Generative AI can interpret it and produce structured data useful for analytics and to aid RPA.
Generative AI has sparked controversy in the past due to its ability to learn bias, but this issue can be overcome with appropriate training.
Increase efficiency with collaborative robots
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are machines designed to collaborate with humans in a range of professional environments. The labor shortages caused by the pandemic sped up the adoption of collaborative robots in sectors such as construction.
According to research from the Construction Industry Training Board, in the United Kingdom, 31% of large and medium construction businesses already started using construction technology in 2021, including robotic arms for modular construction.
From lifting heavy materials to facilitating inspections, cobots are designed to work alongside humans rather than replace them, performing dangerous tasks on their behalf and keeping workers safe. Because of this, their use is predicted to increase across all industries in 2023.
Conclusion: Thinking ahead and preparing for automation
Intelligent automation represents a growing market set to revolutionize the ways businesses will work in 2023. From generative AI to collaborative robots, every sector will be affected as adoption rates keep growing.
Preparing for automation is a business-critical priority. Organizations must recognize the value of their data, unify it and start training their own machines to meet specific business needs. This can include anything from experimenting with AI in content creation, selecting data sets for training models or even establishing dedicated automation research centers.
Finally, the looming recession will inevitably pose challenges to businesses looking to implement automation. While it is realistic to assume cuts will affect IT budgets, organizations must take a proactive approach to innovation. Identifying the clear business benefits of automation is key.
Adopting automation in a sustainable way brings tangible improvements to operational efficiency and profit. Transforming the way we think about processes and methods is essential to thriving in 2023 and beyond.
About the author
Rob Dance is CEO at ROCK, a technology consultancy based in Bridgend, U.K. The company's services include IT outsourcing, digital transformation, cybersecurity, application services, data and automation, enterprise networking and IT infrastructure.