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When Automation Comes of Age

Randy RayessRandy Rayess

Today, as the industry as a whole is undergoing a digital transformation in a battle to stay relevant, strategy and productivity are not the factors any company can compromise with. With the advancement of robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud, mobile and machine learning, automation has the power to transform every aspect of business and shape its future.

Business performance will highly depend on advanced robotics and machine learning to curb the costs and increase the efficiency at the rudimentary level by performing a routine of physical activities. This will play a major role in the countries lacking skilled labor or having declining share of the working-age population. With the availability of hardware and cloud computing, achieving and implementing automation will probably be the best affordable asset and investment a company could get. A survey of CEOs conducted by Fortune asked whether they thought their company was a “technology company” to which 67% of the CEOs agreed. This also implies that automation will not be bound to a certain sector but will change the daily work activities of everyone, from miners and landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders and CEOs. Its flexibility and agility will enable the businesses from all the industries to reap its benefits, increase  their performance and quality while reducing errors over manual labor.

Marketing automation has already made its place in the world by playing a major factor in planning, targeting and carrying out various business strategies. Marketing automation is a fundamental part of their broader marketing strategies. Adoption of marketing automation technology will increase and budgets will be geared towards improving their current MA setup. In the context of the customer journey, marketing spend will be spread out over time, increasing toward the tail end of the customer journey—focusing on customer retention, upsell, and engagement. Marketing automation will also track ROI by integrating with the CRM which will help in predicting the future strategies or changes in the present one. Marketing automation will be covering a large base of operations from customer acquisition, engagement and retention to email campaigning all the way to mobile and VR for interactive infographics and will promote customer advocacy.

The most serious question industrial automation probably poses is – will it replace today’s workforce? Automation powered by artificial intelligence is what is set to curb the human resource. Researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a study in 2013, proposing that as many as 47% of jobs in the United States could be computerized. A Pew Research Center survey showed that 65% of Americans believe that within 50 years most of today’s work will be done by computers or robots. This is what scares us the most if computers will do all the work where will the job of our future generations go? What kind of future will that be?

But let us not forget, even though it’s scary, it’s still just a probability. It is a one-sided assumption considering automation as a replacement for human resource a possibility. But what if automation could make more jobs and actually complements human ability?

Though it is true that factory jobs like car assembling by robots in modern automotive factory and increase in agricultural robots show replacement by the technical counterparts but it is also opening opportunities in other parts. An article in The Wall Street Journal quotes that rather than ‘stealing’ human jobs, automation and jobs often grow hand in hand. “The exact same thing is happening that has always happened—we’re evolving, and the jobs are changing,” says Rob Nail, CEO of Singularity University in Silicon Valley. “The one major difference, however is that the time of change is compressing because the pace of technology is moving exponentially.”

Automation, without a doubt, will be the much needed boost to the economic growth and prosperity. Automation gives humans an opportunity to work side-by-side with machines and pursue a high-level position. If we look at the big picture, there are a lot of things that go into running a business than just factory work tasks which are best left to humans rather than machines. It is estimated that automation could raise productivity growth globally by 0.8 to 1.4% annually. Automation combined with human intellect may just be the perfect combination for driving the future of the world to new frontiers.

CoFounder at VenturePact Passionate about software, marketplace startups & remote work. Previously at SilverLake Partners, Ampush and Wharton.