Workato’s Second Annual Work Automation Index Report Finds Automation Surging Beyond IT

Workato’s industry report sees automation as the great equalizer across all departments, beyond just IT professionals and developers

Workato, the leading enterprise automation platform, unveiled today its second annual Work Automation Index. The data report presents the key trends that shaped automation over the past year based on anonymized data from 900 midsize to enterprise Workato customers. This year’s data reveals a massive shift in which departments are using automation tools and creating those automations. During a time when the world is rapidly changing and organizations are finding that how we work is continually evolving, automation has become the great equalizer, creating an opportunity to be more efficient and deliver better business outcomes.

The report discovered that the role of IT has shifted from delivering projects to being an enabler of the business, with 66% of organizations now having 5 or more departments using automation. The number of organizations with 7 departments automating has nearly tripled since 2019.

“It’s amazing to see that IT teams are now becoming the less dominant automation creators within organizations. This demonstrates that when you have the right guardrails, the right governorship, and the right tools in place, business users can create automations safely”

“It’s amazing to see that IT teams are now becoming the less dominant automation creators within organizations. This demonstrates that when you have the right guardrails, the right governorship, and the right tools in place, business users can create automations safely,” said Carter Busse, CIO at Workato. “From finance becoming the most automated department to HR seeing the value in automation to help improve the employee experience, we’ll continue to see this type of growth and adoption as automation becomes more accessible across departments.”

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This year’s report identified the following key findings:

  • Departments outside of IT are automating more than ever before. 23% of automations were built by non-technical users in business operations roles, the highest of any persona in both business and IT.
  • Finance rises to the top as the most automated department. Surpassing IT for the first time, Finance departments made up 26% of all automations. Order-to-cash continues to be one of the top automated processes with record-to-report automation also seeing significant growth with a 290% increase.
  • HR automation continues to be a focus with recruiting automations growing 316%. As the competition for top talent continues and “work from anywhere” becomes the norm, HR teams are using automation to stand out and improve the employee experience right from the start.
  • Hospitality saw the biggest growth in automation usage at 1,518%. The hospitality industry has struggled over the past two years with lockdowns and travel restrictions keeping people at home. As the industry begins to recover, it’s seeing the value in automation tools to help streamline processes.
  • Data creates a way for IT to add strategic value to the business. Businesses are striving to become more data-driven and to use their data to make real-time decisions. The DataOps function is one of the top departments with 3x growth in automations in the past year.
  • EMEA and APJ regions are tapping into the power of automation. In EMEA, the growth in automations for processes like insights and analytics, which has grown 403% in the past year, as well as in financial processes like record-to-report, and in IT operations. For APJ, the focus is on financial automations with record-to-report growing 569% in the past year, and procure-to-pay growing 514%.

“Business leaders increasingly recognize that pervasive use of automation technology leads to improved efficiency, greater business agility, faster innovation, and shorter time to value,” said Massimo Pezzini, Head of Research, Future of the Enterprise at Workato. “Consequently we’re seeing a foundational shift in how IT and business decision makers are embracing automation tools. A business-led, IT-enabled democratized model will become the dominant approach to automation over the next five years.”

Designed to uncover the workflows used and the role automation plays across departments and functions, the 2022 Work Automation Index analyzed 900 midsize ($50M to $2B in annual revenue) to enterprise (over $2B in annual revenue) Workato customers who use automation in their businesses. The team looked at all of the automated workflows created at these companies from February 2021 to January 2022, as well as compared to the period from February 2020 to January 2021 for year-over-year trends.

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