Automation is a Strategic Tool to Help CIOs Tackle Critical Business Challenges

5 oktober 2022

Automation as a means to tackle critical business challenges

CIOs have been facing challenges such as recruiting and retaining top talent, identifying which technologies are the biggest value generators and bolstering security, all while building IT departments that are fit for the future. However, in 2022, circumstances are creating a perfect storm. While pursuing digital transformation, CIOs are facing inflation, supply chain disruption, and significant labor shortages. With budgets under pressure, CIOs continuously need to prove the nearly instantaneous ROI and added value of their investments to the business.

In 2022, the Great Resignation added to the ongoing concerns that CIOs must consider. During the pandemic, resignations have sky-rocketed globally. Not only does this have a direct effect on the number of employees looking to change jobs, but also on those that stayed in their positions. A recent UiPath survey uncovered that 56 percent of European respondents do not know what their responsibilities are anymore due to co-workers resigning. As a reaction, 32 percent are considering quitting their job before the end of the year.

Amid such rapidly shifting micro and macroeconomic conditions, how can CIOs ensure that they are investing in the right technologies, and what role does automation play?

Automation as a means to tackle labor shortages

According to the aforementioned recent UiPath survey, 78 percent of executives are likely to start investing more in automation to tackle the current labor shortage. Furthermore, a report by IDC predicts that by next year, 60 percent of CIOs will be primarily measured for their ability to co-create new business models and outcomes through extensive enterprise and ecosystem-wide collaboration.

Automation is an ideal solution to support CIOs in their efforts to offset the impacts of labor shortages. In the UiPath survey, 58 percent of executives indicated that higher rates of onboarding and offboarding are among their top priorities for the upcoming year. Disrupted workflows were called out as a result of the challenges associated with the current onboarding and offboarding rates.

Be it IT operations or any back-office operations like finance and HR, automation helps employees to manage the increasing operational demand with limited capacity. Of those surveyed, 86 percent of executives believe that by relieving employees of spending much time on mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks, automation will enable them to focus more on creative work.

Upping the game for employee retention with education

Aside from CIOs struggling to retain talent during the pressing labor shortage, 74 percent of surveyed executives admitted to experiencing difficulties in attracting new talent to take on necessary tasks as well. Offering accessible automation and the accompanying training to existing employees and prospects can be a significant factor in their decisions to stay with a company or move on. A vast majority of 85 percent of the surveyed executives indicated that they believe automation will help them retain employees and hire new talent amid the Great Resignation.

Supporting these beliefs, recent research found that roughly 86 percent of employees say that job training is important to them. Nearly three out of every four employees are prepared to invest time outside of work hours to learn new things that could improve their job performance. CIOs must be aware that by investing in automation and offering employees training opportunities to maximize the technology’s potential, they not only offset current labor shortages but also prepare their employees for the future of work.

Accelerating delivery of digital solutions by democratizing access to automation

Automation can help increase capacity for hard-pressed IT departments, which must serve the ever-growing digitalization needs of the business. It can streamline operations, expediting the development activities of the IT department, and delivering digital solutions faster – all of this in a timely fashion and without increasing backlog and overall generating more revenue for the organization.

However, when a low-code automation platform is introduced to the workplace, the creation of useful automation increases exponentially. It does so by democratizing the development process, allowing non-technical employees to put their automation ideas into action. This, in turn, relieves the IT department of the hours spent helping colleagues from other departments with automation-related questions and issues. When the entire organization is equipped with a low-code platform, the IT department’s valuable time can be spent on tasks that add more value to the business.

Without a doubt, a CIO today is under a lot of pressure to prove the value of technology investments made within their company. Fortunately, automation can play a key role in helping businesses tackle the current macroeconomic difficulties, including attracting and retaining the best talent.

Balancing operational excellence, improving customer/employee experience, and accelerating digital growth are leading the CIO priority list. Automation can help achieve these priorities simultaneously.

By Jaap-Jan Wever, regional VP at UiPath