“Automation is now seen through a new lens as the global economy struggles to recover from the pandemic and companies seek resilience and a return to stability and growth. Remote and hybrid work are here to stay, creating new obstacles when it comes to efficiency, collaboration and data security,” says Adam Field, senior vice president of technology strategy and experience at Kofax.
He opined that while productivity has been high in this new working model, so too are stress levels and burnout as organizations have more job openings than people to fill them.
“As we turn our focus to 2022, it’s time to examine how agile companies are refining their operating models and workflows – leading to recovery and growth in 2022 and beyond,” he continued.
Kofax’s 10 intelligent automation predictions for 2022
1. Automation is elevating the experience of human workers. Automation can effectively eliminate most mundane work, creating new opportunities for workers to perform higher-value and more satisfying work. However, the workforce needs the skills to match these opportunities, and employers will need to create pathways to make that happen.
2. AI will go mainstream for next-gen automation. Organizations will achieve next-gen automation with the power of embedded artificial intelligence and its advanced decision-making abilities. AI-powered process automation can make pragmatic decisions that used to require human intervention. With those responsibilities now being automated, human workers can move beyond performing transactional processes and further along the spectrum of high-value work.
3. Integrated supply chains will invest heavily in automation. Accelerated by pandemic uncertainty, companies like Walmart and Amazon are creating or acquiring soup-to-nuts distribution channels, especially as supply chains remain constrained. To make this effective, they’ll need insight into all parts of the organization.
They’ll also need the ability to escalate in real-time and bring together a disparate workforce—very quickly while changing their duties on the fly. Expect these large organizations to invest in technology that creates in-house operations for the foreseeable future.
4. Digital Dexterity will be used to re-establish business moats. Oftentimes, annual predictions proclaim a particular technology as “the next big thing”. Next year will be different, with no obvious standout.
Many organizations will already be using a broad range of low code-driven automation technologies, packaged within a centralized platform and accessible to business users as well as professional developers. Expect organizations to apply this new digital dexterity throughout the enterprise, each creating their own next big thing.
5. Automation will drive organizational convergence. As automation technologies have converged, so too will business functions. An intelligent automation platform combines numerous technologies that create ripple effects throughout an organization.
Different business functions can now be merged, and companies are rethinking “who owns what”. They’re consolidating formerly siloed functions under one automation office to cut through bureaucracy and improve business agility.
6. Taming unstructured data will be the new competitive advantage. Organizations continue to be bombarded by unstructured data. Hidden within are incredibly valuable business insights—if they can be unlocked.
Each company's data is unique, and the ability to harness that unstructured information will provide new and actionable insights. Intelligent document processing will help organizations tame their unstructured data and drive competitive advantage.
7. The “Cloud” opens new possibilities for diverse print and productivity needs. The distributed workforce has gone from necessity to establishing a business reality and advantage. Productivity is still a priority, but now organizations will need to emphasize frictionless digital touchpoints instead of brick-and-mortar experiences.
This new paradigm will accelerate the need for digital productivity tools. The universal print will become even more prevalent, and more organizations will shift much of their printing needs away from individual devices and onto cloud-based servers.
8. There’ll be comfort in controlling your data’s destiny. The power is firmly back in the hands of the people when it comes to data protection, thanks in part to the maturity of regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.
Consumers wield the flexibility to share only what they want and, most importantly, with visibility into the exact data they’re sharing. For instance, think about some of things Apple has done to allow customers to control their data’s destiny. This provides comfort to consumers and compels them to share some instead of none, allowing organizations to provide personalized services while being compliant.
9. Blockchain will be used for vastly more applications. The current and most noteworthy use of blockchain technology is cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. In 2021 we saw the explosion of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) where people spent absurd dollar amounts to corner the market on pixelated GIFs created by unknown artists.
However, there are much more promising and far-reaching use cases that’ll begin to make their way into the mainstream. For example, the secure sharing of medical information, intellectual property rights, and original content security.
10. We’ll see you at the mixed-reality water cooler. Mixed-reality technologies will continue to become more viable and affordable, providing greater collaboration in a hybrid work environment. We dipped our toes in the virtual reality waters when the pandemic hit, but such events were awkward and uncomfortable.
Not so in 2022. Get ready to plunge into the mixed reality pool. Our avatars will be the ones working overtime, participating in true VR-style collaboration, while the latest in augmented and mixed reality technologies will assist us in training and learning even while we’re hundreds of miles apart.