AI and Automation Bring Opportunities-And Challenges

The ultimate goal for almost everyone Enterprise technology is the automation of manual activities in digital processes. BPM (Business Process Management) and workflow systems have been used for decades, and under the guise of most business applications, perform complex processes, tasks and manage workflows. It is difficult to quantify the sheer scale and breadth of process automation other than to say it is pervasive. In fact, although industry analysts like to slice and divide technologies into quadrant and waveform silos, doing so with process automation technology is difficult and often misleading, albeit unintentionally.

A decade ago, there was a clearly defined BPM market. Today, a once-coherent market crashed and scattered across sectors. It’s one that’s still growing but (somewhat ironically) challenged by real-world business change, unrealistic expectations, and market disruption.

Challenge One: Data Growth and Diversity

It is known that the volume of data that is generated and processed every year is increasing at an astonishing rate. Scaling a process management system to handle more of the same is relatively straightforward; You may just need to add more processing and storage capabilities. However, the breadth and diversity of data types and sources is also growing at an astonishing rate. Previously, operations management vendors focused on CRM, ERP, or document repositories only. Today, there is a demand for a broader context of data and for the inclusion of multichannel data from sources such as social media, chatbots, or the Internet of Things. This sounds good but it is very difficult to achieve. At times, it could feel as if she was fighting in fog.

Challenge Two: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Although RPA technology (in the form of screen scraping) has been with us for decades, it is only in the last five years that it has transformed into a giant and heavily funded tech sector. Led by Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, and UiPath, the RPA software market has grown from less than $200 million in 2016 to $1 billion in 2021. You can add another $2.5 billion in services to that number in 2021. Market capitalization and access to financing What RPA vendors do today is quite astonishing, enabling them to target acquisitions and grow even more. RPA came out of nowhere to challenge it and, in some cases, bypass more established process management vendors.

Challenge 3: The Promise and Limitations of AI

The growth and diversity of data is a challenge, but it also creates an opportunity. In a market with easy access to money, the temptation for AI to modernize process management and deal with increasing complexity is strong. We are now in the period of “AI washing” where adding a small machine learning unit or AI unit to a vast old platform involved renaming everything as “AI driven.” AI holds great promise, but concerns about ethics, legislation and the need for human oversight have dampened the buyer’s enthusiasm. These are all legitimate and challenging concerns for tech vendors, and you’ll need to address them sooner or later.

Challenge 4: Shifting from an employer-led to an employee-led transformation

Some have called it the “Great Resignation,” but, you name it, the pandemic era has ensured a sharp shift in the power dynamic between employer and employee. Hiring, especially for important roles, is more complex and costly, and the employee has more control and say in the deal than ever before. After years of touting the need to transform and automate digitally, organizations have to confront the fact that it’s hard, and employees are fully aware that automation means losing their jobs. The notion that employees will move on to more “interesting” work once their current roles are automated doesn’t hold much interest today — if such statements hold so much in the first place.

The fifth challenge: the transition to reform and reform

In a sense, there has been a perfect storm brewing, driven in part by the rise of RPA and forced remote work, to shift many – if not most – organizations to focus on fixing and addressing urgent problems and thus away from major and strategic shifts. These strategic discussions continue, but such sudden and dramatic turmoil has exposed many issues that must now take precedence – whether it’s the issues of remote local data access or managing the statically coded workflows of an established workforce in the workplace.

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