One of the main goals of digital transformation in business is greater efficiency. Thanks to automation, we can achieve our goal with less effort, time, money, and fewer risks.
Striving for perfection is a natural work process. How to define such perfection? Even as a maximum optimization of actions taken. We try to achieve the set goal with the minimum cost of time, energy used, resources used. However, we make mistakes; they are inevitable wherever a human being is involved. Let us add that the cost of human errors is not always easy to calculate. Losing your reputation, and with it, your trust, can turn out to be a critical factor in success, and even in your survival, in the marketplace.
Automation is key to achieving optimal efficiency and reducing losses related to unpredictable human factors. It should be pursued in every field of routine activity, where success is determined by broadly understood labor economy and precision.
In this field, the advantage provided by digital technologies is most visible.
The first associations are obvious: related to the potential of artificial intelligence or the cloud. As a recent study by analytical company IDG shows, digital business transformation, and hybrid cloud computing automation are closely related phenomena. Digital business initiatives are becoming faster, simpler, and cheaper to implement thanks to the IT transformation towards automation – moreover, they can even be financed with revenues generated in this way.
Let’s look at the automation associated with the simple physical work of moving goods. The Canadian company OTTO Motors is working on robots that will help us in warehouses, sorting plants, production halls, and wherever it is necessary to move loads from place to place. OTTO Motors robots are self-propelled platforms with lifts, equipped with sensors that allow them to create a spatial map of the surroundings on an ongoing basis and avoid obstacles while moving. This is a step – or even a few steps – further from, for example, the concept of a forklift truck with an operator.
The potential benefits are obvious. Initially, the platforms will probably only assist people by showing them a given product and destination. Still, with time, equipped with universal grippers and controlled by artificial intelligence, they will completely take over human responsibilities. Cheaper in operation, faster, and more reliable, they will finally replace us completely in simple, routine, automated work. After all, this is just another stage of the process initiated by the automation of work on production lines. Thanks to the development of artificial intelligence, wireless communication, and sensor technology, machines – long replacing us in physical work – are becoming mobile.
We started with the least obvious area of solutions that resulted in work automation. And yet, this example shows how much can be gained. Relieving employees from simple and repetitive tasks (and thus their greater focus on creation and innovation – which is of great importance given the constantly growing shortage of hands to work in the IT area), shorter time to market, lower operating costs At the same time, we can assume a quick return on investment in new technology, minimizing the risk of making a mistake – these are the most obvious ones.
Let us, in this connection, expand the capabilities of such machines for the development of artificial intelligence, for example, by learning processes more perfectly deep ( deep learning ). The progress that we can observe in recent years in the field of object recognition allows us to assume with a high degree of certainty that such robots will soon be able to achieve identification efficiency close to perfection. Therefore, we will be able to use the automatic shopping option to a greater extent, even for everyday goods, such as food or hygiene products.
Controlled by artificial intelligence in the cloud, the robot will recognize the goods, transfer them to a transporter – possibly a flying drone, capable of autonomous flight – and we will get delivery in no time. All these processes can be automated, and the necessary technologies either already exist or are at an advanced stage of development.
In the first phase, however, optimization in the IT transformation process will cover those areas where it is easiest to implement. This is already happening. The ability of artificial intelligence to operate ultra-fast on giant data blocks (big data) provides incomparably greater analytical possibilities than those that a human can provide. Thanks to the automation of analytical processes, Internet services can dynamically adapt to individual users the content that is potentially interesting to them and the advertising offer that they can most likely use. Artificial intelligence in the cloud will recognize faster than a human when and where a critical situation may occur, for example, related to the shortage of raw materials in production, and promptly suggest or make a decision to remedy it. The ability to recognize the pattern and perform routine analytical processes has an infinite number of applications in business, and today it isn’t easy to imagine a company that would not like to take advantage of this advantage.
Of course, automation in the IT transformation process requires infrastructure modernization as a primary condition. We wrote about it in one of the previous articles in this series, but it is worth remembering that this investment pays back quickly. The reduction of the overscheduled work time related to delays is calculated today at 73%, and the reduction of the related loss of revenues: 69%. It is worth noting that these numbers can only increase with further optimization resulting from the improvement of the technology and the ability to implement it effectively.
However, let’s not forget about a few basic rules that are worth and should be followed in order for our activities to be successful – because automation does not always have to mean success and benefits:
- A malfunctioning process will still be so, even if we automate it.
- The most useless thing that can be done is to automate and make super-effective things that shouldn’t be done in general.
- The more complex and complicated our IT becomes, the more complex and complicated the process of its automation will be.
Here we consider the potential of a new industrial revolution – digital transformation, the fruit of IT transformation. However, no advanced, hermetic, highly specialized knowledge is required to understand the nature and significance of these profound changes, which will undoubtedly affect all of us. As always in the history of the development of technical civilization, it is about the same: facing challenges more effectively. It’s about doing the job better – with less effort, faster, more accurately, with the most satisfying end result possible. Automation in IT transformation offers enormous opportunities in this respect.