In the last decade, the arrival of AI and Automation in the workplace came with mixed emotions. Despite the operational efficiency benefits, these technologies brought to businesses – and to workers themselves – the fear of job losses and lack of education around intelligent automation marred the impact of these new innovations in the working world. In 2020, that will all change. A new model of partnership between humans and machines is emerging, focused on the value of Intelligent Automation and Humans working together can bring: Augmented Intelligence.
In fact, Gartner believes that this will create up to $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally by 2021. Businesses who don’t take advantage of AI, while keeping employee satisfaction front-of-mind, are likely to fall far behind in the global race for productivity and business value.
As IDC forecasts in its Content Intelligence and the Future of Work report that the intelligent process automation software market, including Content Intelligence and RPA, will grow by more than half to $20.7 billion by 2023, the adoption of these technologies is set to define whether Augmented Intelligence can achieve its aim: to make AI and humans work in harmony. Here’s how see this taking shape in 2020.
Digital Workers Will Grow by 50%
Digital workers, in the form of Robotic Process Automation software robots, can augment automation efforts with AI and Machine Learning to work alongside humans. In fact, the contribution of digital workers will grow by 50% in the next two years, illustrating a real shift to a future built on human-machine collaboration.
Automation can and should be human-centric – humans and machines, not humans versus machines. Only then can human workers focus on higher-level, creative and socially responsible tasks, and give customers better experiences and faster service. In 2020, businesses that are quick to incorporate digital workers with cognitive, content IQ skills within their automation platforms will gain a significant competitive edge.
Overhauling Processes Will Be Mandatory
With the process mining market set to triple by 2023, and as more complex deployments of Digital Transformation technologies ramp up, the ability to monitor a business’ processes will become critically important. However, individual technologies like RPA and BPM only have visibility over the steps they control – so new technology is needed to provide visibility of processes end-to-end.
To get the insights needed to improve customer service and operational efficiency, and ultimately boost profits, organizations will need to take advantage of process intelligence tools that go beyond process mining. According to leading analysts, process intelligence provides a comprehensive view of running processes, giving businesses the ability to act on what they find and improve processes in real-time. While we expect to see large enterprises leading the way, some smaller businesses in process-intensive industries like customer service or finance will begin to transform their processes too in the coming year.
AI Adoption for Digital Intelligence
We expect investment in AI technologies for delivering digital intelligence to boom in 2020 as business leaders increasingly see the benefits of investing in intelligent automation. According to IDC, organizations deploying technology related to digitizing, automating, and optimizing document workflows reduced costs by over 35%. They also reduced the amount of time spent on document-related tasks by 17%. And perhaps the most compelling benefit was that they reduced errors by almost 52%. Just recently, 75% of executives said their companies might go out of business in the next five years if they are unable to scale AI, according to Fortune which based its report on an Accenture survey of 1,500 C-suite executives.
Additionally, investing in RPA alongside process or Content Automation technologies, what I refer to as Digital Intelligence, reaped the most benefits – with 71% or organizations having grown their revenue, compared to 37% of those using RPA alone.
Deloitte also sees AI ramping up in enterprises and reported that 37% of companies have already invested at least $5 million in digital transformation and expect investment to continue. I predict an average increase in investment of around 30% and up to 45% by some of the early adaptors. Banking and Financial Services will lead the way to enhance customer service, while insurance will follow to adapt for improvements in compliance.
AI Ethics Top CIO Agendas
CIOs adopting AI technologies will be faced with a daunting new challenge: ethics. It has now become paramount that CIOs know what uses of AI could cause problems – whether bad, biased or unethical – and what they can do to make sure their business remains on the right side. In 2020, we’ll see CIOs begin to question their AI deployments: are the AI applications they are building moral, safe and right? Is the data behind the AI technology good, or does it have algorithmic bias?
With Augmented Intelligence set to become the new normal, no CIO wants to be known for bad and biased use of AI – especially since the legal ramifications of such actions will ramp up significantly in 2020. This will be the year that AI ethics hits the agenda of every CIO, and businesses, workers, and the public will all benefit from it.
If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what’s around the corner when it comes to Automation technologies – there will always be developments that are impossible to predict. To ensure businesses are ready to tackle whatever comes next, moving towards the model of Augmented Intelligence will be crucial. Those adopting Process and Content Intelligence, RPA, AI, and Machine Learning, must enable human workers to work in harmony with their digital counterparts. In 2020, we should see this become a reality for businesses across the USA and beyond.