Forrester says 76% of EU CIOs underprepared for automation
A new report from research and advisory firm Forrester says 76% of European CIOs are underprepared for automation.
The Path To Automation In Europe – Why And How It Will Be Different says employment protection initiatives implemented during the pandemic will delay CIOs' plans for automation across Europe, despite 76% of European organisations underprepared for automation compared to 65% in Asia Pacific and 73% in North America.
Only 20% of European business leaders can clearly articulate how automation could improve their business processes, according to the report.
Industries including utilities, manufacturing, and finance are leading automation efforts in Europe. Job markets such as Germany, which has a high degree of automation, are likely to experience a faster rate of growth, while Southern and Eastern Europe will be slower to adopt automation.
Forrester anticipates limited progress as companies rethink their plans to take advantage of government stimulus packages and employment protection schemes.
However, more European CIOs will build business continuity resilience and eventually move toward "lights-out manufacturing" by deploying fully automated manufacturing based on 5G, automated vehicles, and robots.
How CIOs can navigate automation challenges
“Already one step behind their global counterparts, European tech leaders will now feel the added pressure of government oversight,” says Forrester Principal Analyst and co-author of the report, Dan Bieler.
“If Europe wants to boost the benefits of automation and compete with the rest of the world on efficiency, resilience, and customer service, governments and businesses must reskill the workforce to support and advance automation initiatives.”
The report outlines steps to help CIOs navigate the challenges, including:
- Reskilling the workforce. Automation and AI are further accelerating the demand for technological skills.
- Allowing time before measuring automation benefits. On average, a full automation initiative rollout cycle takes about one and a half years.
- Retaining human expertise in your automation process design. Human judgment remains a key factor for automation projects.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”