From our cars to our phones to our homes, process automation is a big part of our lives. But as automation continues to accelerate, there’s one place where its effects may be most felt: The workplace. As it stands, about 60% of businesses can have up to a third of their business processes automated. Ironically, it’s left millennials terrified. The same group that has advocated for this surge in technology and pushed for its implementation now finds itself threatened by it. But do the numbers justify the fear? Should process automation be embraced instead? Let’s take a closer look at different industries and how they’re coping with technological advances and what the future holds.
Those born in the 80s and 90s have been the main driving force behind the technological revolution. In a way, process automation is their legacy. The stereotypical millennial is one that’s always on their tablet or phone creating content or staying in touch with friends. Millennials love the technology that they’ve grown up with. But the attraction isn’t just a random coincidence. They’re actually attracted to certain aspects of technology, especially in professional environments.
Efficiency: Faster, smoother, simpler, more effective. These are the things millennials want in technology. If it’s cumbersome or slow, chances are it’ll be cast aside.
Modernity: It needs to be cutting edge, ahead of its time.
Collaboration: If it’s isolating, it probably won’t last. Millennials want tech that everyone can use.
A lot of the process automation being used in business at the moment fits these three aspects. These systems include customer relationship management (CRM) software that use AI to manage large customer query loads or data collecting programs that build big data for better targeted online marketing. Process automation is alive and well.
So, which industries are going to find process automation most threatening?
Marketing: The growing influence of programmatic media buying, machine learning, and artificial intelligence has changed the way marketing is done. These concepts do potentially put creativity and independent thought at risk. But creativity in its rawest form is still a commodity.
“There’s this assumption [in our industry] that just because everybody has got a camera and access to a YouTube channel, that suddenly everybody is a creative director. It’s clearly not true. Most advertising and so-called blockbuster films these days are terrible. Creativity is as precious as ever,” says Dan Izbicki, creative excellence director at Unilever.
Accounting/banking: Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s leading hedge funds, is currently working on a piece of software to automate the day-to-day management of the firm. The software will be used to make some poignant strategic decisions on a daily basis. And with banks and accounting firms that rely so heavily on precise methodical processes, it’s easy to see how process automation software and back-end algorithms can replace humans. This kind of automation saves money by streamlining procedures, reducing human error and maximizing employee time.
Customer service: Process automation in this sector has evolved significantly in recent years. There is a range of platforms that allow for automated submission, organization, and re-distribution of data to team members. Systems like Clickatell Touch are able to streamline CRM by dealing with basic queries before escalating to a human. Most of these systems still require human oversight, but software does make the individuals’ jobs that much easier and efficient. A big downside to process automation in this industry though is the loss of the human touch. So, it just might be that regardless of how automated things get, businesses will still need humans to work in this sector.
While there might be a lot of uncertainty about whether a robot is going to steal your job, process automation will continue to push new roles in the workplace. The good news, though, is that it’s likely to replace redundant ones as it goes. If you’d like to learn more about process automation, then read our latest article on the subject which outlines how automation is revolutionizing our homes.