2019 was a monumental year for automation. There were huge valuations, established work management and collaboration platforms adding automation capabilities, and increased adoption of automation across all manner of enterprises and small businesses.
These trends will only continue in 2020. In fact, this year, automation will revolutionize the way we work. Among other things, companies will use automation to consolidate the number of apps in their ever-expanding technology environment, revamp and empower departments focused on business operations, and turn to human-in-the-loop automation as a process and systems design imperative.
It’s fair to say that five years from now, the way we grow and run companies will look fundamentally different than what it looks like today — and automation will be a big reason why.
Our team spoke on these impending changes with Digital Journal last month. We reported what we’re seeing from the front lines, so to speak, as the creators of the only platform that utilizes human-in-the-loop robotic automation for operations teams.
Here are a few of our bolder predictions that will come to fruition in the coming year, based on our continuing work with innovative companies.
1) Consolidation of apps, via automation, driven by app fatigue for both businesses and IT.
App fatigue is a growing trend for enterprises. Both IT and business functions in organizations are actively looking to consolidate the number of apps in their environment, and in 2020, organizations will look to automation to take a bigger role in solving their needs. Rather than thinking “is there an app for that?”, companies will first ask “how we can solve process challenges by extending our existing systems with automation?”
2) Operations teams will become the backbone of businesses as low-code automation solutions open design for every enterprise function.
Operations teams, who sit at the intersection of people, processes, and technology, will leverage automation to improve efficiency, business outcomes, and employee productivity. Intelligent automation will be the pillar of operations as businesses extend automation past low-variability, high-repetition use cases to end-to-end processes across systems and people. Thus the key stakeholders for automation will evolve from IT and centralized automation teams to functional operations teams in 2020. Empowered by no-code automation solutions, functional operations teams like legal ops, customer ops, etc. will deliver solutions tailored to their own people and processes on top of the existing systems they already have.
3) Evolution of task-level to process-level automation.
One of the critical limitations of RPA and other automation platforms today is that automation is focused on specific tasks or point-to-point integrations. In 2020, automation platforms will begin to take a look at processes more holistically to allow organizations to minimize the number of tools necessary to drive end-to-end process efficiency.
4) Focus on human-in-the-loop automation.
Most business processes are dynamic and require human decision-making, inputs, or actions. Automation platforms today focus only on automating certain components of each business process that can be fully automated. Organizations and automation platforms will evolve their thinking in 2020 on how to make the human-bot handoff or taking a people-first approach to designing processes and implementing automation. This will maximize the benefits of automation not just to businesses but also to individuals.
5) Strategic applications of intelligent automation.
Intelligent automation platforms will become mainstream in 2020, and organizations will adopt strategic automation initiatives to drive efficiencies across their organization. Companies will also evolve their thinking on how to apply automation not just in low-variability, high-repetition use cases, but also in dynamic use cases that include human input.