Fujitsu: Most business leaders predict total transformation of companies by 2021
More than half of business leaders (52 percent) say that digital disruption means their organisations will not exist in their current forms by 2021, according to a global study commissioned¹ by Fujitsu.
While almost all (98 percent) said their organisation has already been impacted and will continue to be impacted by digital disruption, 92 percent recognised that their business needs to evolve to thrive in a digital world and 75 percent believe their sector will fundamentally change in the next five years.
When assessing what drives their response to the challenge of digital disruption, almost half (45 percent) pointed to the C-Suite or leadership team. Looking externally, most business leaders identified customers (45 percent) ahead of competitors (31 percent) as the most influential group driving their organisation’s response to digital disruption. When asked who is leading digital disruption in their sectors, only 12 percent of execs pointed to themselves – compared to the 45 percent who pointed to start-ups and organisations from outside their sectors.
Despite business leaders anticipating dramatic change over the coming years, most (72 percent) believe digitalisation presents exciting opportunities for them and four in five (80 percent) state it is a positive force. Such potential benefits are driving a hunger to capitalize quickly. 71 percent of executives state that organisations need to innovate faster in order to stay relevant, with Finland (97 percent) the strongest believers in this and executives in Spain (36 percent) the least certain that innovating faster is what’s needed to stay relevant in a digitalized world.
Duncan Tait, SEVP and Head of EMEIA and Americas region at Fujitsu, said: “Digital disruption transforms business models and revenue streams, operations and processes, customer relationships and service and more. It is exactly this potential that is causing concern. The fact that despite the potential benefits, a third (33 percent) of executives wish they weren’t experiencing digital disruption is stark reading. Compared to two years ago, and indeed just last year when we analyzed IT decision makers’ approach to and opinions of digital transformation, business leaders are now more confident and know they need to not only keep up but strive to better their competitors and digitalize faster, with confidence, strategy and ultimately, great success. The pressure to flourish in the face of digitalisation is clear in this study’s findings.”
Exploring what is needed to ensure they thrive in a digital world, almost three-quarters (72 percent) of business leaders recognize the need to collaborate more strategically with organisations that can help shape their response to digital disruption. 73 percent believe that technology lies at the heart of an organisation’s ability to succeed in a digital world, while 67 percent say their organisation needs to collaborate with third-party technology experts.
Tait adds: “The ability to pool knowledge, ideas and resources with a partner which understands what it takes to flourish in a digital world is a vital capability which business leaders know will help them through this transitional, and therefore challenging, time. If all digital stakeholders work together to navigate through this disruption, businesses will not be overrun by digital; they will forge ahead, innovating and prospering to reap all the benefits the digital age offers.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”