A version of this blog was published on TechNative
The world of IT is changing and altering the face of the workforce. New technologies, like AI, cloud and IoT, have morphed IT infrastructure into an extremely complex beast and, in doing so, have impacted the work of those who manage it.
Meanwhile the European Commission estimates there will be a shortage of 756,000 skilled IT workers by next year.
This broadening digital skills gap and talent shortage, along with budget cuts, has resulted in understaffed IT departments juggling increased demand with limited resources. In fact, most CIOs find themselves allocating 70% of their budget and staff to simply keeping the lights on. This mounting pressure on businesses, and the fear of not having adequate talent to keep up with the demands of digital transformation, is causing many to rethink their strategies to drive more efficient and smarter ways of working. One such solution is automation.
Automation allows companies to do more with less – a necessity in today’s business climate – and offers a strategic advantage by enabling IT to focus on driving innovation. Thanks to automation, IT teams no longer need to contend with enormous volumes of time-consuming, mundane tasks, such as data entry, audit documentation, and password resets. These tedious tasks can negatively impact morale and job satisfaction, often causing staff to seek greener pastures. In today’s market, this is particularly prevalent when it comes to millennials, who are not willing to entertain these inefficiencies. Automation overcomes this liability by freeing-up workers to focus on more rewarding tasks that demand creative thinking.
Naturally, the word automation may strike a nerve with employees fearing that they will be made redundant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, automation opens the door to new and exciting opportunities in IT, as well as roles that require strategic planning and innovative problem solving. In fact, with machines automating repetitive processes, human expertise is at a premium to oversee the technology, apply it in new ways, and optimize procedures in more meaningful ways.
While this may sound idealistic, we’ve witnessed this transformation first-hand at Resolve. For example, when we started working with a global financial technology services provider, their focus was to build a handful of initial automations to prove the value of the technology to the C-suite and to comfortably introduce this new concept to its employees. As the teams appreciated the transformational benefits of automation and experienced how it could improve their daily work lives, the company empowered more regional offices and departments to build their own automations based on the foundation they’d established. Two years later, hundreds of processes have been automated, most of which have been submitted by employees through an incentivized program that encourages them to provide input on what should be tackled next.
The introduction of new job roles created through automation offers IT staff the opportunity to learn new skills, as well as continuing to drive business efficiency. IT professionals who can amalgamate their deep business knowledge and innovative thinking will become invaluable team members. This can motivate and inspire enhanced performance and empower IT professionals to be agents of change. In fact, research by Microsoft indicates that businesses already on the AI journey are outperforming other organizations on factors like productivity, performance, and business outcomes.
By merging human knowledge with automation, companies can unlock unprecedented innovation. Successful businesses are eager to identify solutions that allow them to adapt to the evolving IT landscape and future-proof their business. In the short-term, automation enables companies to bridge the gap of labour shortage and sharpen their competitive edge. In the long-term, it allows them to enhance overall business efficiency, expand profit margins, and gain a competitive edge. For the IT workforce, automation can revolutionize how workloads are tackled, changing the very nature of technical roles.
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