Is automation actually creating jobs?

New research commissioned Expleo claims that 20pc of Irish businesses that are using smart technologies like automation have actually created jobs.

According to the study, 58pc of firms say it has had no effect on employee numbers. 

The research also revealed 60pc of Irish businesses using automation said that it is driving revenue growth. The implementation of smart technologies is on the rise with Irish businesses also – 32pc of respondents are currently implementing AI and ML projects.

“Technology isn’t well represented on company boards and this is something that needs to change. If businesses are as serious about innovation as they say they are, it needs to be reflected on the board”

The research, carried out by TechPro amongst 143 IT decision-makers across the island of Ireland, was conducted to uncover how Irish businesses are embracing digital transformation. It found that 85pc of organisations are now using automated technologies. Some 78pc of those say it is helping employees to focus on business-critical tasks, while a further 73pc argue that it speeds up processes.

Smart tech needs to be on the agenda in Irish boardrooms

Man in grey suit with blue tie.

Phil Codd, managing director, Expleo Ireland

Expleo’s survey also found that automation is helping businesses to generate revenues, with 60pc of survey respondents reporting revenue growth as a result of automated technologies.

Smart technologies are also on the agenda for Irish organisations, according to Expleo’s survey. It found that 32pc of businesses are currently implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) projects, while almost one-in-five (19pc) say AI and ML are now fundamental to their business. Some 45pc of organisations plan to increase their use of AI and ML in the next three years.

Despite the industry-wide shift to digital, Expleo’s research uncovered that IT decision-makers still face barriers to implementing new technologies. The top hurdles cited were lack of in-house knowledge or skills (68pc), budget constraints (54pc), lack of innovative thinking (37pc) and lack of buy-in from senior executives/board members (36pc).

Meanwhile, to handle their digital transformation journey, 56pc of organisations are outsourcing the management or support of certain processes to an external service provider.

“We are still in the dawn of the digital era, so there is a lot of trepidation around new technologies and the impact they will have on lives and workforces,” said Phil Codd, managing director for Ireland at Expleo.

“However, our research shows that technologies such as automation are actually helping to boost job numbers as they require skilled people to run and manage them. It’s not about taking jobs away from people: it’s empowering people to make a greater impact in their roles by letting machines take on the more mundane – but necessary – tasks so humans can concentrate on adding more value to their organisation.

“Digital transformation is taking hold of every organisation on the island of Ireland today and it’s encouraging to see that enterprises are embracing the latest technologies. But it’s not a smooth road to success and technology leaders seem to be experiencing pushback from senior executives and board members, which means they aren’t getting the budgetary sign-off they need for innovation.

“Technology isn’t well represented on company boards and this is something that needs to change. If businesses are as serious about innovation as they say they are, it needs to be reflected on the board.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 9 December, 2019