Implementing automation requires the right skillset

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Automation and digital transformation go hand in hand, with the former playing a key role in paving the way for the latter.

David Lee, a technology partner in PwC Ireland, told about the concern there is among leaders about the speed at which technology and automation are advancing.

“71pc of Irish CEOs said in PwC’s 2021 Irish CEO survey that they are concerned about the speed of technological change on their organisation’s growth prospects, the highest in all the years of the survey,” he said.

“At the same time, business leaders are seriously investing in technology. 41pc of Irish CEOs plan on double digit investment in digital transformation over the next three years. Over a third (37pc) will focus on achieving greater workforce productivity through automation and technology.”

Lee said AI will also play a major role in transforming business, with another PwC survey showing that 72pc of business decision-makers say AI can enable humans to concentrate on more meaningful work.

“This includes simplifying and streamlining tasks and cutting out manual processes. Innovative AI techniques also mean less room for error,” he said. “Recent research by PwC on automating analytics found that even the most rudimentary AI-based extraction techniques can save businesses 30–40pc of the hours typically spent on such processes.”

Lee’s key advice for businesses who have yet to adopt automation was to remember that it’s about a mindset change rather than simply a new technology.

“Don’t simply automate the ‘as is’, re-imagine and re-design, then automate. At the same time, create a collaborative culture that encourages your people to come up with new ideas right across your organisation.”

Lee also spoke about the importance of skills when it comes to automation. Earlier this week, Hays’ Tim Olsen gave a flavour of the kind of skills needed to work in automation, AI and robotic process automation.

However, even outside of these roles, automation will touch many other areas of the workplace and Lee said employee experience and upskilling must be at the top of the agenda.

“[Give] your people the tools they need for a digitally enabled world. You need the best people, and you need them to stay and grow the business,” he said.

“Implementing automation and digital transformation requires people with the requisite digital skills, as well as people who have the’ soft’ skills to manage the change process. The skills gap continues to be a huge concern for businesses and upskilling has become one of the key ways to plug the gap.”

He also said that businesses must have a clear set of key performance indicators to measure the steps along the way on the automation journey.

“Ensuring that these are clearly communicated and understood is also just as important and challenging. Considering any changes to roles as a result of freed-up time may also present challenges.”

Lee also said that PwC has been on a journey of digital upskilling, including automating many of its work deliverables.

“Our focus is to upskill all our people by introducing them, via two-day digital academies, to both new ways of thinking and giving them hands on experience with a variety of digital tools,” he said.

By David Lee

David Lee is a technology partner at PwC Ireland.

The post Implementing automation requires the right skillset appeared first on Silicon Republic.

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