In the aftermath of Covid-19, companies across the world were compelled to rapidly adopt and adapt to new technologies for survival. The pandemic globally accelerated automation to unprecedented levels, permanently solidifying digital transformation as a core business function across sectors. In 2023, the widespread migration towards automated systems is expected to deepen as remote working, e-commerce, social-media and demand for digital propositions steadily grow.
Combined with unparalleled cyber engagement from Gen-Z cohorts and widening digital democracy, 2023 will see a deviation in the way automation is applied. Industry is likely to shift focus from urgently addressing business continuity and employee health to consistently delivering superior consumer experiences through agile and resilient tools. With a growing number of organizations better equipped against disruptions and having basic support infrastructure in place, automation will see an impetus as managing complex digital systems with maximum efficiency becomes imperative to secure competitive advantage.
The Rakuten SixthSense CIO Challenges Survey also highlighted that 77% of IT leaders consider embracing new software solutions a success priority for the future. On a positive note, despite stagnated economic growth and prolonged recession predicted globally, businesses are poised to enjoy improved financial stability. This signals that investment in automation will dramatically increase as companies have greater resources available to outclass competition through technological excellence and efficiency.
At the heart of digital business transformation is the adoption of dynamic cloud-based automations that use real-time data inputs to offer immediate solutions and flexibility to different firms. As a result, 2023 is predicted to see a drive in demand for cloud automation deployment and scalability at cost-effective rates. While the financial landscape is gradually ameliorating for industry, uncertainty is persistent as the global economy makes a slow recovery from the pandemic.
With firms, particularly small and medium businesses, cautiously spending but simultaneously requiring speedy and intuitive tools; cloud automation is likely to become more economical in a bid to cater to these markets. Consequently, 2023 indicates a mushrooming of new B2B offerings that vitalise outbound- innovation as cost-friendly cloud solutions to fix bugs, go-to-market quickly and effectively use resources become market necessity.
In particular, contemporary organisations are expected to leverage digital brand personas for meaningful dialogue with stakeholders that need continuous servicing. Subsequently, virtual intelligent assistants are now becoming increasingly normative for companies to offer, suggesting that cognitive automation will see a boost as different sectors push to align competitive practices.
While intelligent automation will continue to predominantly target customers, 2023 sees it play a greater role in employee experience. Organisations are increasingly seeking virtual assistants for internal process management and quick resolution of tickets, with AI-powered bots becoming a popular time-saving and economical mechanism. Furthermore, with global unemployment and voluntary resignations due to mental-health concerns set to rise in 2023, automation will be critical for companies looking to predict and manage staff shortages.
While many workers fear their jobs will be completely automated by next year, 2023 is more likely to establish new ways of working and elevate human strengths, rather than replace them.
Notably, automation will shine due to its ability to deliver agility in increasingly volatile market conditions. As manufacturing and transport prepare for global supply chain disruptions in the face of energy constraints, political instability and changing regulations; these sectors are primarily expected to lead maximum investment in automation.
Focussing on warehouse operations, automation is needed to develop quality scanners and sensors, intuitive technologies for seamless data management and digital solutions to tackle employee attrition. However, 2023 is a challenging time as cyber security and data privacy are increasingly vulnerable to attacks, which threaten the closure of entire supply chains. Working with third-party cloud providers on critical systems majorly heightens exposure, rendering organisations without robust and streamlined security standards open to high-risk data loss or misuse and networks being compromised.
While automation has capabilities to vastly influence the social economy, technology’s high-potential in being able to contribute to development and productivity is largely expected to be squandered in 2023. Despite several lucrative (and blue ocean) opportunities available to large sectors like consumer goods and retail, customer centricity will take precedence over social application when innovation is being developed or used.
However, with growing stakeholder advocacy for purposeful technology and trillion-dollar value potential in the social economy, companies are now becoming increasingly cognisant of using automation for community needs. In the coming year, industry is expected to make incremental structural changes needed to re-orient processes towards implementing social automation.
As a new chapter beckons, 2023 promises new challenges but remains an exciting time for automation as it emerges as a leading driver of international growth, profitability and sustainability.
-- Amit Srivastava, VP Sales and Marketing, Rakuten SixthSense and Rakuten India.