8 tips for CIOs to get the most out of business automation

Some 70% of employees said automation improved job satisfaction, according to a ServiceNow report. Here's how to reap the rewards.

The big reasons why your digital transformation initiative might fail Digital transformation is hard, says Justin Rodenbostel, but there are things your company can do now to make your organization among the small group that succeeds.

Automation is known to transform businesses: About eight out of 10 employees said automation simplified work processes, improved efficiency, and enhanced productivity, according to a recent ServiceNow report. The majority of IT executives (90%) said automation decreased repetitive tasks, and 85% of respondents overall said it promoted collaboration, the report added.

The report surveyed nearly 6,500 employees around the world to determine how their companies use automation and its effects on business outcomes. Some 70% of respondents found automation to cause higher levels of employee job satisfaction, more time for creativity, and greater opportunities for advancement--negating many fears that the technology will replace jobs.

SEE: Special report: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

However, organizations must understand the business value of the technology before implementing it--a consideration that is most often neglected, the report found. Many business leaders invest in the technology to stay competitive and relevant with enterprise trends, but investing without an actionable plan often just leads to digital transformation failure, said the report.

The report identified the following eight tips to help CIOs reap tangible benefits from automation initiatives:

1. More automation means and more value

Companies with more automation statistically see more value, higher customer satisfaction, greater productivity, and more, the report found. At the end of the day, automation may indeed be necessary to stay competitive.

2. Adopt as much automation as you can

The leading companies in automation tech are those that have undergone multiple digital transformations, the report found. Identify the tasks in your company that could be automated, and go from there.

3. Go further than the back office and IT

Organizations gravitate toward structured or IT-focused processes to automate, but less-structured initiatives have just as much value, the report added.

4. Think through the initiatives

Before jumping into a huge digital transformation project, prioritize which initiatives should come first. Analyze the time and cost of performing each task, and lay out a game plan of how to proceed, the report recommended.

5. Create a Center of Excellence

The most effective organizations with digital workflows have established Center of Excellence in automation, the report said. Team members across the organization come together to address technologies and processes.

6. Don't automatically cut jobs

Instead of cutting jobs that are replaced with automation, consider how the employee can use their talents elsewhere, especially with higher value tasks, the report said.

7. Train

Don't surprise your company with the technology and expect employees to know how to use it. Communicate the objectives and purpose of the changes, and train them on the new tech, the report said.

8. Establish your own business value

If you want to persuade executives to invest in automation, create tangible examples of where the investment would add value.

To learn about the top technology investments driving digital transformation, check out this TechRepublic article.

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