In a recent research paper IDG aims to help organizations interested in exploring an Automation for Good agenda to understand what is possible and how to get started. For organizations looking to maximize the impact needs to pursue automation with a specific positive intention the authors propose an ‘automation for good manifesto’.
Automation technologies are being implemented in public and private sector organizations, further and faster than ever. IDC’s Future of Work 2021 Survey shows that 47% of organizations are planning to implement RPA in the next 18 months, 39% are planning to implement other process automation technologies (including workflow automation), and 63% are planning to implement task-focused apps on mobile devices.
Automation has been transformational in areas of economic growth and industry innovation, and many more applications can have a far-reaching impact on society and the environment, addressing a wide range of objectives in the UN’s SDG agenda.
However, without clear goals and direction, organizations risk missing out on the full potential of automation and overlooking its ability to enable social impact. Even more so, it is now easier than ever for automation to be unintentionally implemented in ways that run counter to the positive societal and business outcomes that organizations so often say they want to deliver.
In a recent research paper, developed with UiPath, IDG aims to help organizations interested in exploring an Automation for Good agenda to understand what is possible and how to get started. It addresses five crucial questions:
- How has automation been used in the past, and how is it being used today?
- How can automation help address the large-scale challenges of our economies, societies, and the environment?
- What must organizations do to embrace and realize the vision of automation for good?
- How can organizations and ecosystems identify champions for change?
- Where are organizations already employing automation for good?
Where to start
As societies continue to exert pressure on the private sector to demonstrate commitment to delivering wider benefits beyond profits, private sector organizations must begin to explore how to embrace AfG. This paper lays out the steps your organization must take to not only define and refine a clear automation for good agenda, but to implement that agenda.
Public sector organizations have the same broad base of automation opportunities that private sector organizations have — improving employee engagement, reducing environmental impact, providing new employment, reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and so on. But they also have the potential to help drive broader positive outcomes for businesses and societies by helping to catalyze positive change in industries and markets with targeted policy interventions, dedicated industry investments, support for upskilling and reskilling programs, and more.
For organizations looking to maximize the impact needs to pursue automation with a specific positive intention the authors propose an “automation for good manifesto” — a public declaration of policy and aims.
This manifesto comprises five key principles:
- People are at the heart of automation projects, as both enablers and beneficiaries. Viewing people purely as a cost or overhead to be removed from an activity diminishes the automation opportunity and demeans the value of human engagement as core to the automation process.
- Automation creates new personal development opportunities and skills horizons. The biggest gains will come when those opportunities and horizons are opened equally to all employees — and to all those who wish to learn — regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Automation is a multipurpose tool for transforming organizations. Organizations can transform more than operating costs with automation; they can increase resilience and transparency, and decrease material waste and energy usage. Public sector organizations can improve their mission effectiveness, enhance interactions with citizens and businesses, save taxpayers’ money, and create financial benefits for a larger population, decreasing socioeconomic gaps.
- Automation dividends should be invested in furthering your purpose. Resources returned through automation (money, workforce time, skills) can be used to further organizations’ broader missions to deliver positive value to society, and by doing so can further increase employee engagement.
- Automation should be pursued in the light, not in the dark. The value of automation is amplified when organizations are transparent about their automation efforts, sharing their successes and challenges and reporting on all the outcomes that are delivered.