Blog | May 23, 2019

Automate or Stagnate: Understanding Our New Global Economic Reality


We live in a time of accelerated change. Consumers expect products and services at record pace without any downturn in quality. Yet businesses are having to meet such demands while simultaneously dealing with the challenges of an ageing workforce and a shortage of critical skills. To keep pace in the long-term, the most successful organizations are not only finding ways to make processes faster and cheaper, they are changing the way they think.

At the heart of this new way of thinking is connected-RPA and intelligent automation. Our latest research, Automate or Stagnate, digs into how knowledge workers and senior business decision makers across the world actually view the technology and how it is impacting their daily and working lives.

Keep an open mindset

One of the most encouraging insights from the study has been how open-minded knowledge workers are to change. More than three-quarters globally are comfortable with re-skilling in order to work alongside the digital workforce. This extends to 87 percent in the US where knowledge workers are also most likely to say that they’re ready to take on a new job role. Eighty-eight percent state this to be the case in the US, closely followed by their counterparts in the UK (83 percent). While knowledge workers in the likes of France (73 percent) and Germany (74 percent) are less likely to be ready to take on new roles, they are still relatively open to this change.

Stay ahead of the curve

This willingness to adapt and develop new competences goes hand in hand with high levels of adoption globally. Ninety-two percent of business decision makers around the world plan to extend use cases of automation and organizations are beginning to see how important the digital workforce will be for them to remain competitive. At 39 percent, business decision makers in the UK are the most likely to believe that their organization cannot remain competitive in the next five years with a purely human workforce. Those in Germany are more likely to take a different view however, with just 24 percent agreeing with that statement. For some businesses, the realization that their people need support from a digital workforce is yet to dawn, but the overall mood is changing.

Find a cultural fit

What is clear is that attitudes are evolving with regards to incorporating the digital workforce. A critical manifestation of these new attitudes are changes to company culture. On an international level, this is something that we have found businesses to be taking on positively. More than two-thirds of business decision makers globally believe that business culture needs to change to make a success of technologies such as RPA. And they are taking action. Over three quarters of businesses are actively on the case of cultural change, yet this does vary from country to country. The US leads the way where 83 percent of decision makers have initiatives underway, significantly ahead of the UK and Australia where 68 percent and 64 percent of businesses respectively have plans already in motion.

While there is always room for progress, we are seeing a very positive picture being painted by businesses all over the world. Intelligent automation is driving great changes to our working lives and our lives in general. What sets this change apart from previous workplace revolutions though, is that people are at the canter of it. The technology is giving the innovators, the entrepreneurs within businesses, the opportunity to thrive and unlock their latent potential. That is a story worth following. To uncover the full picture, read the global report here.