Lifeline for Businesses: How Automation Can Address Key Trends and Challenges in 2023

Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan and Chief Information Officer

Automation is becoming an increasingly important trend in business, as more companies look to optimize their processes and operations. However, there are also challenges to adopting automation, including the shortage of skilled professionals and the risk of mistakes and malfunctions. In this article, we will explore the trends and challenges of automation in 2023, including the democratization of automation through low-code tools, the focus on efficiency and optimization by CIOs, the adoption of automation in the APAC region, and how CIOs can support their organizations beyond automation.

CIO World Asia spoke with Carter Busse, Chief Information Officer, Workato and Amlan Debnath, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Workato on how automation can address key trends and challenges in 2023.

Automation Trends And Challenges In 2023

Automation is no longer primarily the responsibility of IT departments. Instead, businesses themselves are becoming more involved in the automation of their processes. This is due to the fact that businesses have a better understanding of their processes, the governance, architecture, and templates required to automate them effectively. Companies like Workato offer the governance and rules necessary to enable businesses to automate their processes. This is the trend that is currently emerging, and it is one that many customers are considering.

One of the advantages of low-code tools is that they require less manpower to maintain than traditional software tools, which require extensive coding. In Singapore, it is quite difficult for businesses to maintain those traditional software tools as there is an existing shortage of talents in the tech industry. The democratization of automation through low-code tools is helping to solve this problem, allowing people who previously may not have been able to participate in the automation process to do so.

With such low-code tools in the company, Workato has been able to experience having employees of non-tech backgrounds successfully working in automation-related roles. One of their recent experiences include transitioning an employee from their support team to their technology team. The fact that Workato was able to this further emphasizes that low code tools allow businesses to address the current skill gaps and talent shortages and find a way to work around it without having to compromise on their operations.

Primary Focus Of A CIO In The Post Pandemic Landscape

With the pandemic forcing companies to switch to remote work, 2020 was all about resilience. Everyone had to quickly transition to remote work, which meant investing in local no-code tools. However, 2021 is all about growth and scale. With free money available in the markets, businesses are hiring to keep up with the growing demands. But as we move into 2022 and 2023, CIOs need to focus on efficiency and optimization to keep up with the pace of business.

In the survey, Workato Automation Index, productivity, efficiency, and cost were dominant drivers for businesses with other key factors including speed and low error rates. These factors give businesses a competitive advantage and CIOs must ask themselves if they really need a software tool before investing in it. What happened during the pandemic is that many companies ended up investing in too many tools without considering its necessity.

Point solutions, which are tools designed to solve a specific problem, have become features in larger systems, and many companies are realizing that they do not need these point solutions. CIOs should focus on optimizing what they already have, and that can involve getting rid of unnecessary tools. Automation can be used to optimize systems, and companies can run an optimization program that looks at users across all business applications. 

If a user has not logged in within 30 days, the program sends a note to the user, who has to justify their absence. If the user still does not respond to the note, the program sends a request to the manager that will urge them to review the user’s access. This automation can save a company thousands of dollars a year as it keeps their data secure. 

Businesses In The APAC Region Tap On The Power Of Automation

The adoption of automation technology is increasing globally, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Many companies are now investing in automation solutions, encouraged by big businesses like Grab and GoJek, which have successfully implemented automation in their operations. There has been a definite uptick in adoption, with some single companies investing over a million dollars in automation technology.

One of the biggest issues faced by companies adopting automation technology is the shortage of skilled professionals to implement and maintain these systems. To address this, some universities and industry companies are partnering with automation providers to train their staff, which helps to alleviate the shortage of skilled labor.

Data-triggered automation is also becoming more common, as companies realize the value of automating repetitive tasks, enabling them to operate more efficiently. Automation can help companies scale and pivot their businesses quickly, which is essential in today’s fast-paced business environment. AI plus automation is becoming a powerful combination, with AI able to process vast amounts of data and trigger automation systems that can take corrective actions, such as arresting criminals or shutting down operations.

While the adoption of automation technology has many advantages, companies must also be aware of the risks, such as the potential for AI systems to make mistakes or malfunction. However, with proper training and implementation, the benefits of automation far outweigh the risks.

How CIOs Can Further Support Their Organization Through Uncertain Times Beyond Automation?

Empowering businesses to automate their processes can be a challenging task for CIOs, but it can be done safely with some governance and control in place. CIOs must give people with the creativity and the mindset who know their business processes better than anyone else the power to do their own automation. In order to do this, businesses must ensure their employees receive proper training and certification. Moreover, CIOs must establish a safe place for their employees to automate, away from the production data. This will ensure that their automations can be safely put into production. 

The use of communities has been found to be effective in teaching people about automation. Workato has two types of communities, one for business and one for tech, where members can learn from each other. Workato is also going big on enabling automation, by creating an automation institute, and making automation a career stream. CIOs can empower leaders and individual contributors with the right data to make their own decisions. AI can also come in to help answer questions with accuracy.

In today’s world, knowledge in data and automation are becoming more important and necessary. With everything becoming “do-it-yourself” (DIY), more and more people are teaching themselves how to code and program as programming lessons are being offered for free on platforms such as Youtube. This highlights a growing need for automation administrators in the world as they allow employees to work productively alongside automation and build centers of excellence with automation at its foundation. Ultimately, CIOs must ensure their business can automate their processes safely and allow their employees to become creative with their automation.