For business leaders exploring ways to apply generative AI within their companies, it can be difficult to discern where to start, what will scale easily and what will deliver the greatest ROI. But the answer may be much simpler than it seems: automation. When AI is integrated into automation technology it’s referred to as “intelligent automation,” and it’s a high-impact way for businesses to put generative AI to work.
The IBM Institute for Business Value recently published its latest global study, “Seizing the AI and automation opportunity,” an analysis of 2,000 interviews with executives from across industries, which reveals C-suite leaders are recognizing the operational, and ultimately financial, benefits of intelligent automation. According to the report, a stunning 92% of executives surveyed expect to digitize their organization’s workflows and leverage AI-powered automation by 2026.
As businesses undergo digital transformation efforts and integrate data and technology throughout their operations and processes, they create the opportunity to automate business initiatives — however small or large — such as administrative tasks, workflows, monitoring, and integration across platforms. At the same time, digital transformation also greatly increases the complexity of the technology systems, platforms and infrastructure businesses run on, so it’s no surprise that IT organizations have been at the forefront of automation. The study shows that executives expect automation rates in IT service management, DevSecOps and IT operations management to double or more over the next three years.
For example, once a company is far enough along in its digital transformation, its systems may be so complex — with so much data running through it so quickly — that it’s nearly impossible for engineers to monitor on their own. This is one area where automation isn’t just nice to have, it becomes a business imperative. The right automation tool can monitor enormous amounts of information faster than any human brain, and alert engineers to issues based on pre-set rules around energy use, storage capacity, cost and other business-critical factors.
Now, apply generative AI to the already impactful automation technology. With generative AI, it’s not just monitoring; it’s identifying and learning patterns. And it’s not just alerting engineers to a problem; it’s drafting reports about likely causes and suggesting solutions — all before the issue even occurs.
IT organizations may seem like an obvious place to observe an ROI on intelligent automation, given the overwhelming amount of data that’s produced at speeds impossible for the human brain to process in real time. But just as IT systems are becoming more complex, so are business units across organizations.
Empowering teams across the organization
So where else does the combination of generative AI and automation prove powerful? All departments and employees are now expected to process more information more quickly and manage more data across more, sometimes incompatible, tools and platforms. Automation can be just as useful to streamline processes and eliminate the drudgery of repetitive tasks for these teams as it is for IT, but there has been one important barrier — the non-technical teams don’t have the necessary engineering skills to program automations.
Now, apply generative AI to the automation tool so non-technical employees can use natural language to program what they want automated, and that barrier is broken. Many business leaders are thinking about how they can implement technology in the workplace to empower employees and unlock productivity. In fact, 54% of executives surveyed said they are evaluating roles of automation and AI in delivering new ways of working.
Capitalize on automation opportunities
Digital transformation is necessary for any business to survive in today’s competitive, rapidly evolving global economy. It may bring complexity, but it also creates the opportunity for automation and the application of generative AI. Business leaders who want to find ways to apply generative AI should start by looking where automation could make — or perhaps is already making — a marked impact in their organizations.
The study found that 8 out of 10 C-suite executives agree that the benefits of generative AI are worth the potential risks. When you discover the power of generative AI and automation, it’s easy to see why.
Read the full IBM Institute for Business Value study
VP, Product Management, IBM Automation