AI and Automation in the workplace: Jobs friend or foe

As many businesses look towards the next year and plan to recover and grow, there will be a renewed focus on business optimisation, efficiency and contingency to make processes and functions more streamlined and robust. This will lead to many researching new AI and automation innovations and seeking to implement them into their business processes. In August 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that worldwide revenue in the AI market would increase year-on-year in 2020 by 12%, totalling $156bn.

So is this something to be feared? Will this lead to even fewer jobs available in 2021 and beyond? Absolutely not.

Firstly, not all business processes lend themselves to automation. Typically businesses will start with reporting and invoicing technologies, looking to streamline, automate and make these more powerful, less time-consuming and labour-intensive. Even these implementations require planning, building, testing, migrating and management. So it is feasible for a role to shift from manual management of a finance process to the supervision of multiple automated systems ensuring they continue to run optimally.

Increased AI and automation can also help businesses to grow and green light new innovative projects. Faster reporting, more powerful business intelligence and cost-effective processes enable businesses to see growth opportunities sooner, identify areas for improvement and development faster, and provide IT professionals with key data to advance their projects quicker.

Companies and those working within IT embracing the potential of automation will result in exciting and engaging transition projects over the coming years. The Swiss technology group, Buhler, is beginning a transition to SAP S/4HANA after 20 successful years of running R/3 thanks to a drive to increase performance. Jan Gilig, President of SAP S/4HANA, said of the project:

“With increased automation of transactions, SAP S/4HANA enables us to increase the reliability and efficiency of Bühler’s core processes and to create the prerequisites for proactive, forward-looking corporate management with intelligent analysis methods,”

The project will take a minimum of 18 months, resulting in many opportunities and projects to help the transition run smoothly and effectively.

As businesses seek to incorporate more innovative AI and automation processes, we should see this as an opportunity. More jobs will be created, businesses will be able to analyse performance and improve decision-making, and the data available to professionals will be faster and more insightful than ever.

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