Innovation

Report: Nearly 60% of all business processes could be automated by 2022

Some 83% of IT leaders say robotic automation is key to their company's digital transformation plans, according to a report from Redwood Software and Sapio Research.

Robots may soon be employed in your business: IT leaders predict that 59% of business processes could be automated by 2022, according to a new study from Redwood Software and Sapio Research.

Further, 70% of these professionals say that robotics have become more of a priority in the last year.

Automation can offer companies benefits including speed of process and reduction of manual effort, the survey of 500 IT decision makers across the US and UK found. Security and cost represent the top risks, tech leaders said.

"Companies are rapidly unlocking the potential of robotics and automation, and transforming their entire businesses in the process," Dennis Walsh, Redwood Software president of Americas and Asia-Pacific, said in a press release. "The acceleration of this adoption in recent years means that the majority of the repetitive tasks that make up the back office could soon be performed by software robots. That means less mundane work, more strategic thinking and ever greater prominence for the IT department."

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Robotics will play a key role in digital transformation, as 83% of respondents said they considered robotic automation to be "essential" or "very important" to their company's digital transformation plans. And 74% said these advances are being owned and implemented by IT, as opposed to other personnel.

"The IT department has the most holistic view on the impact that automation can have on a business, so it is natural that they lead the implementation of automation," Walsh said in the release. "As C-level executives look to transform their businesses into truly digital operations, they will increasingly look to the IT team to provide insight, clarity and guidance into company-wide automation."

Some 90% of IT leaders said they felt their senior management understood the opportunities presented by automation.

US respondents were far more likely to prioritize robotics than their UK counterparts, the study found: 32% of US IT leaders said that robotics was a "top priority" for them, compared to 19% of those in the UK. And 78% of US respondents said robotics and automation had become "more of a priority" in the last 12 months, compared with 62% of those in the UK.

"There is no question that the US is currently the world leader in robotics automation. From heavy manufacturing to retail giants to tech innovators, the US has implemented automation solutions and is seeking others," Walsh said in the release. "While the UK has shown an openness to adopt the same automation mindset, it still lags in the US. Post-Brexit, UK companies may need to up their game in automation in order to remain competitive with their US, European and global competitors."

Many experts have speculated about the potential impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce. A widely-cited study from the University of Oxford predicted that 47% of US jobs are at high risk of automation in the coming decades, with the lowest skill jobs most likely to be eliminated. However, many experts predict that robots will complement human workers, and free them up to do higher-level tasks, rather than completely replace them.

Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow.

  • IT leaders predict that 59% of business processes could be automated by 2022. -Redwood Software and Sapio Research, 2017
  • 70% of IT leaders say that robotics have become more of a priority in the last year. -Redwood Software and Sapio Research, 2017
  • 83% of IT leaders said they consider robotic automation to be "essential" or "very important" to their company's digital transformation plans. -Redwood Software and Sapio Research, 2017
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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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