Forrester Research: The Global Pandemic Will Alter and Accelerate Automation Plans

As the world moves into the next phase of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis—with fewer stay-at-home orders, industries reopening, and governments attempting to facilitate a return to ‘normal’—businesses are evaluating their current situations with an eye to the future and what a post-pandemic world might look like.

Forrester Research recently released two different reports that provide much needed insight into that very topic and draw a picture of the role automation will play in aiding both recovery and post-COVID-19 scaling.

The COVID-19 crisis will accelerate enterprise automation plans

In their report The COVID-19 Crisis Will Accelerate Enterprise Automation Plans, Forrester Research states that one of the “lasting legacies [of the pandemic] will be a renewed focus on automation.”

“Automation has been a major force reshaping work since long before the pandemic; now, it’s taking on a new urgency in the context of business risk and resiliency,” the report states.

The pandemic has already changed the way we work—increasing the number of remote workers, creating shifts in global supply chains, and expanding the canvas of business risk planning. Some of those changes will persist through the recovery and beyond, according to Forrester. While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a unique global event, the report notes that the recovery will be similar to recent recessions in that it will be a jobless recovery that will include an increase in automation investments.

According to the report: “Most firms currently have survival and sustenance on their mind. However, as the crisis recedes, expect the pattern of investments along the recovery path to follow past trends. Business and technology leaders will continue to invest in emerging intelligent automation technologies to increase the resiliency and adaptiveness of the business.”

In this recovery, automation will be a boardroom imperative, the report states. Automation will handle human-dependent processes that your newly remote workers may not be able to perform. It will help reduce risk in case of future crises, as well as help predict risk in combination with artificial intelligence tools. And it will help you build adaptiveness into your recovery plan.

The report also, and maybe most importantly, urges automating with empathy. The recovery from this crisis will be unequal. The human impact will continue for months and even years.

“Avoid the temptation to automate roughshod; instead, approach automation with empathy and trust and invest in increasing your firm’s Robotics Quotient,” the report states.

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