3 trends that automation will spur on in 2020

11 Dec 2019

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Next year, Forrester’s Chris Gardner expects to see these transformative business trends take shape thanks to increasing deployment of automation.

While automation remains a major focus for many organisations, the biggest challenges in deploying automation aren’t with the technology itself.

According to recent Forrester polling of global data and analytics decision-makers: 25pc said their firm lacks an overall vision or strategy for automation; 26pc told us they face challenges with culture and change management; and 25pc believe there are gaps in their organisational structure, alignment and readiness.

‘Some of these trends will impact individual organisational units and toolsets, while others will change the future of work for everyone’

The reasons behind these results are varied. In some cases, islands of automation form, where firms unknowingly use similar types of automation in different parts of the organisation. In other cases, the bottom-up deployment method prevents scale and leads to governance nightmares.

Overall, federated operating models are developing too slowly to keep pace with the growth of the technology.

With all of these trends continuing next year, we at Forrester are expecting some pretty dramatic automation-based events to unfold as well. Some of these trends will impact individual organisational units and tool sets, while others will change the future of work for everyone.

Whether your automation strategy and portfolio needs a retune or you’re just getting started on your automation plans, it’s vitally important to prepare for 2020, because next year will be a transformative year for automation.

1. A changing jobs market

In 2020, 3.9pc of cubicle jobs will be cannibalised, while human-touch jobs (such as nursing) will grow by 0.62pc.

Tasks ranging from posting account ledgers to calculating HR benefits will be replaced by robotic process automation (RPA). Work that requires intuition, empathy and mental agility – such as cross-domain knowledge workers, teachers and explainers – will add 300,000 jobs to the economy.

2. An automation paradox

After years of falling, MTTR (mean time to resolve) incidents will increase. The reason? All of the easy tasks have been automated.

To counter shrinking knowledge life cycles and growing Level 2 and Level 3 IT service desks, enterprises will try to address this paradox by applying site reliability engineering and tackling observability issues with new tools powered by artificial intelligence.

3. Automation strike teams

In between traditional IT and domain experts, unique strike teams are coming up in enterprises to address islands of automation. This practice will formalise in 2020.

These teams – crewed with roles such as robot architects and automation jump-starters – will standardise automation portfolios and accelerate user journey mapping. More importantly, they will form a key part of the purchasing cycle and will become a targeted persona for many automation vendors.

By Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner is a principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals as they face the unique opportunities and challenges of automation, infrastructure-as-code, and the software-defined data centre.

Download Forrester’s Predictions 2020 guide for more information on the major dynamics that will impact firms next year.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Forrester blog.