Repetitive and routine tasks waste a huge amount of time and money for organisations. Managers spend up to two days a week on admin, preventing them from carrying out strategic work.
But now, actions and processes that required human input or supervision can increasingly be completely managed by machines. Advances in technology are making workflow automation a lot more powerful. These are four key trends that will change the way organisations work.
1. AI and automation
Businesses are already using artificial intelligence for certain tasks. But so far these have tended to be lower-level tasks which carry limited risk, such as meeting transcriptions or customer support chatbots.
With AI becoming more powerful, it will increasingly be used for decision-making. Algorithms will automatically make decisions without involving humans: approving loans, authorising refunds, even managing aspects of HR and employment decisions.
2. Consolidation and connectivity
Consolidated workflow automation platforms are much simpler and more efficient than having a range different apps and software solutions. A single, holistic program makes for much easier management, saving time and improving workflows.
At the same time, platforms will be able to interface and connect with other systems, enabling automation between different parties, such as a vendor and customer. They will be able to incorporate third party tools through API.
3. Virtual assistants
Virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are becoming more popular and widely adopted as their capabilities improve. Natural language processing and machine learning are making these virtual assistants much more accurate in recognising human speech – up to 95% accuracy.
As virtual assistants become more intelligent about understanding human intent, they’ll become a lot more useful in managing tasks around the workplace. Businesses will feel more confident about relying on them to schedule meetings, book travel. Speech analytics will allow for “sentiment analysis” which can be useful in interview or training situations.
4. Eliminating hardware
As automation helps deliver the dream of the digital workplace, many of the physical tools currently used will become redundant. Companies will no longer need a lot of old school equipment, from scanners and printers to fax machines.
There will also be cost savings when it comes to repairing, upgrading and replacing equipment. The management of hardware, including the detection of faults and scheduling of maintenance, will be an automated process that prevents critical failure and extends the life of hardware.
Innovative businesses who embrace these trends will enjoy a competitive edge. With repetitive and mundane tasks automated, they’ll be able to upskill staff to focus on higher value work.
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