- Adoption and exploitation of solutions—including digital labor, robotics process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other innovative technologies such as data and analytics (D&A)—are clearly the top positive trends and initiatives for 2018 and beyond. But many negative trends and organizational challenges cited in previous years will often impede these initiatives.
- Cutting costs is once again cited as the top initiative by organizations. However, leading organizations will not limit their IA usage to merely cutting costs. They will also leverage IA to help drive digital transformation efforts that can change their entire operational and business model while also addressing other challenges such as talent shortages. The paradox is that IA initiatives themselves can be impeded by a lack of talent in the organization.
- Now is the ideal time for organizations to aggressively adopt IA solutions, backed by full management buyin. Accordingly, key challenges to initiatives must be addressed, including dysfunctional management and operating models, inadequate supporting IT systems, and the lack of skilled talent and IA talent in particular.
- The positive and negative impacts of IA on the white-collar workforce must be clearly understood and managed by businesses. However, weaknesses in change management capabilities and dysfunctional management practices will make this easier said than done.
- The use of bots and RPA will accelerate and become mainstream in scale across a growing number of organizations in 2018, especially forward-thinking and digital-native firms. RPA in itself, however, is primarily a cost-cutting tool. Those organizations that consider themselves as competitive IA players based only on their aggressive RPA efforts are fooling themselves.
- Widespread deployment of IA (especially AI and ML) will remain a rarity in mainstream and legacy organizations. But all organizations must gain the right IA tools and expertise. They also need to understand where each IA component is most applicable, whether individually or in concert with other components.
- While 2018 will be the year of IA, organizations that do not adequately leverage transformation opportunities with IA will reduce their competitive advantage and become laggards rather than leaders in their industry. IA has been compared to other transformational technologies, such as e-commerce, but the difference with IA is that the split between leaders and laggards will widen much faster and the losers fall much quicker.
Learn more about the 2018 trends and actions to consider in the Pulse report (PDF 271.5 KB).