Office workers welcome automation but worry about their jobs

Automation

Workers in IT, HR, finance and other roles welcome the use of tools that automate processes and improve productivity -- but many are concerned automation might someday make their jobs less relevant.

A study by Thirdera, specialist in services for ServiceNow users, finds 83 percent of workers are using AI-powered search, chatbots, self-service portals, mobile apps, AIOps, business intelligence and dynamic scheduling tools every day, and 46 percent have been doing so for at least a year.

The most common use cases are IT service management platforms (68 percent), IT operations management platforms (57 percent) and financial management platforms (37 percent). They're also being used with CRM, ERP, HR and marketing automation platforms. Within this tools category, the most popular technologies are mobile apps (used by 69 percent of respondents), business intelligence tools (65 percent), self-service portals (53 percent), AI-powered search (44 percent), intelligent chatbots (36 percent) and dynamic scheduling tools (36 percent).

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The research shows the tools are having a positive impact too, 69 percent say their productivity increased substantially by using these technologies. While 40 percent report saving at least six hours per week, and 67 percent are saving at least four hours per week. In addition 34 percent say ROI from the use of these tools was achieved in less than three months, 41 percent said three to six months, and 89 percent achieved ROI in less than a year. 48 percent of respondents have at least six business processes attached to the use of these technologies.

"These tools are tailor-made to automate employee workflows and improve productivity," says Jason Wojahn, CEO of Thirdera. "They can be used by IT to respond to service requests, HR to fulfill employee inquiries, employees to submit legal forms, and field-service managers to assign tasks. Most companies that deploy these tools experience a significant and rapid return on their investments. In our business, companies are using ServiceNow to automate these tasks and workflows end-to-end."

However, there is another side to the coin, 63 percent of respondents say they are concerned their company's use of these technologies will someday make their job functions less relevant. Other worries include technologies being too expensive (48 percent), and 38 percent saying the colleagues and/or customers they're serving with these technologies would prefer more human-to-human contact. Also, 32 percent say the tools malfunction frequently, and 26 percent think they’re hard to learn.

"The purpose of this survey was to validate our assumption that modern tech tools are improving employee workflows and productivity, which they clearly are," adds Wojahn. "What we also learned is that workers still have reservations about these tools, which means service providers like Thirdera have more work to do. For example, we need to be educating the market and showing users how more comprehensive patterns of automation can enhance their value and contributions to their organizations, and augment their ways of working rather than replace human-to-human contact."

You can find out more on the Thirdera site.

Photo Credit: Wright Studio/Shutterstock

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