Businesses are automating processes to reduce IT expenses, study finds. Source: Shutterstock
The pandemic’s surge in online shopping has forced retailers to automate the processing of returns and refunds, according to new research that found automation has become easy enough to use for business leaders to embrace it without the help of computers.
At least two-thirds of the 900 companies surveyed for the new Workato publication Work automation index reported having five or more departments using automation tools, while the number of organizations with seven or more departments using automation has tripled since 2019.
Non-IT automations account for 75% of automations this year, up from 60% last year, reflecting strong adoption of workflow automation tools in business areas such as finance, resources human resources, sales and marketing, customer support, etc. .
The use of automation to process customer returns and refunds – a once laborious process that offers no direct financial benefit to businesses – has increased by 335% since 2019.
This growth “is a strong indicator that we will place greater emphasis on a smooth returns and refunds process in the coming year,” the report notes, “[which is] no surprise as online shopping remains the main commerce channel of choice despite the reopening of physical stores. »
Automation is also growing in business functions such as recruiting (up 310%), record-to-report business analytics (up 290%), procure-to-pay in purchasing (up 283% ), employee integration (255%). percent) and customer support (230 percent).
By building rule-based automations that guide employees, customers and business partners through routine transactions, Workato CIO Carter Busse said departments process more requests without having to add more staff – a particularly difficult prospect in today’s climate – or even having to call on the IT department to set up the automation.
“IT teams are now becoming the least dominant creators of automation within organizations,” Busse explained. “It demonstrates that when you have the right guardrails, the right governance, and the right tools in place, business users can safely create automations.”
“From finance becoming the most automated department to HR seeing the value of automation in helping improve the employee experience, we will continue to see this type of growth and adoption as automation becomes more accessible. in all departments.
Enter the era of hyperautomation
The push to automate repetitive business processes was already growing in popularity before the pandemic, with workers worried about layoffs as IT departments worked hard to streamline day-to-day operations.
However, as businesses now face multiple challenges at once – including limited staff availability, rising customer expectations and a difficult financial climate – using automation to improve efficiency has become crucial for their survival.
80% of IT managers see automation as the key to cost optimization and, recently, Gartner predicted70% of enterprises will have automated their infrastructure by 2025, up from just 20% last year.
Gartner calls the trend hyperautomation – defined as “a disciplined, business-driven approach to quickly identify, control, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible” – and named among the most important business challenges of this year.
Automation at Workato customers corroborates new figures from Salesforce subsidiary MuleSoft, whose recent customer survey found that 91% of customers said sales teams had increasingly demanded automation over the past two years.
Australian companies were slightly ahead of the global pace in automation, with increased demand driven by research and development, administration, customer service and finance and accounting business units.
Yet despite all the excitement around hyperautomation, most Australian businesses acknowledge that it remains complex to implement, with 93% admitting that overhauling their existing automation systems could increase’technical debt‘.
“Organizations in all industries want to automate processes and customer experiences as quickly as possible,” said Matt McLarty, CTO and Global Vice President of MuleSoft Digital Transformation Office, arguing for a ‘composable‘ approach to business and warning that “if they try to go fast with the wrong tools and techniques, they will actually get in the way of true innovation”.
“It’s vital that organizations become more adaptable to technological change,” he said, “allowing them to create automations and connect data and applications holistically.
“Without adopting a more composable approach, organizations risk increasing rather than reducing their technical debt.”