Over the past year, we’ve seen businesses continue to push towards digital transformation, and automation has been a key part of this shift. Considering continued remote work offerings and higher demand for digital collaboration, I expect this trend to continue into next year and onward. Here are a handful of predictions for 2022 on how automation will keep moving the digital transformation needle, and how companies will adopt emerging technologies to better serve their customers.
The Next-Gen of Digital Transformation Will Be Automation
In 2022, we’ll see industries incorporate automation into their digital transformation strategies. Digital transformation has been a mainstay in the marketplace for a while now and has further progressed in this pandemic-caused remote world. In the wake of successful digital transformation, we’ll see automation begin to touch all facets of businesses including fulfillment, accounting, advertising, and marketing. This concept will percolate for the small to medium-sized business (SMB) with customer relationship automation, which I anticipate is where we’ll see the most growth in the next decade.
Application Adoption Needs RPA to Be Most Effective
As more applications are adopted through digital transformation efforts, the demand for robotic process automation (RPA) will rise in conjunction. Being a data transfer mechanism between systems, the increasing adoption of RPA will need data parallelization and consistency. Simply put, new digital systems will not be able to be used to their full effectiveness without RPA added into the mix. Although it is possible that RPA may not be a long-term product to rely upon, the demand now will dictate how the technology will survive in the coming years.
“Buy-Now, Pay-Later” Will Raise Demand for Automation
In the next couple of years, we’ll see automation become much more involved in the payments industry. The rise of fintech we’ve seen in the past 18 months will continue as consumers want more options, and automation will play a significant role as part of this. We’ll specifically see “buy-now, pay-later” become a growth focus for many financial institutions, and automation’s role will grow in importance to improve the predictability of revenue considering payments will be received over longer periods of time. The growing demand for this payment option will really change how we view business in a general sense and this shift in e-commerce is only the beginning of automation becoming more prevalent in everyday life.
Worker Shortage Will Be Relieved by Automation
There’s no question some industries have been hurt by a shortage of qualified workers, and industries that are feeling this the most, such as supply chain and insurance, may need to consider automation solutions in order to remain operationally effective in the coming years. It’s no longer a matter of wanting to accomplish tasks more efficiently, it’s simply a matter of survival. As adoption increases in high-demand industries, it’s important to note that automation will not take workers fully out of the equation. For example, cars are built by robots, but they have to be designed by people. This concept will remain true, and as automation becomes more widespread within different industries, demand for creative and critical-thinking workers will remain prevalent.
A Less-Bullish Take on AI: The Human Element Will Remain in Automation
The notion is that automation is not as smart as people believe, but we should look at it through the lens of where the human component is still beneficial to automation and machine learning. In the same way mechanized automation changed heavy industry in the early 20th century (automobiles are not made by people anymore), people will remain incorporated into the design process. As we shift people away from the manual labor of screwing in the lightbulbs, people will be involved in the design of the robots screwing in the lightbulbs.
The use cases for automation took the spotlight since the pandemic began and there’s no doubt we’ll see this momentum continue into next year. It’ll be interesting to see what new industries begin investing more into automation next year, whether it be for businesses or consumers, and how it’ll improve all kinds of everyday tasks.