Business automation has matured since the advent of word processors and digitization. The next step is to realize autonomous automation …

Currently, automation is an essential part of every business. However, the kind of automation in trend now is the data-driven kind.

So what does this mean, and how will it impact various industries? Are IT leaders ready to embrace this trend in the new year?

Here are some answers from Shrikrishna Srinivasan, Director, Product Management & Founding Architect, AutonomIQ, a low-code platform.

DigiconAsia: What is the meaning of “automating automation”, and what can it do for organizations? 

Shrikrishna Srinivasan, Director, Product Management & Founding Architect, AutonomIQ

Shrikrishna Srinivasan (Shrikrishna): We may automate manual processes, but the process of creating that automation is usually still manual.

Not only is the expertise required to create this automation hard to find and expensive, it is also a very lengthy process to write and maintain automation scripts. This is the main, and probably the only deterrent for organizations to adopt automation on a wider scale.

The sure-shot way to solve this is by “automating the automation”. In other words, using technology to create and maintain automation with minimal human intervention. Technologies such as AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing are for the first time, enabling this type of automation, thereby reducing the barrier to adopting automation. Usage of the right toolsets and hiring the right skilled people is the key to effectively implementing the philosophy.

DigiconAsia: Could you cite a few use cases of automating automation in various industries? 

Shrikrishna: With the advent of AI, ML and various other related technologies, automating automation although not yet widely adopted, is all set to become commonplace in industries ranging from automotive to healthcare. You must have heard of self-driving vehicles: it is an excellent example of automating the automation that is happening in our daily lives.

In healthcare, there is ongoing research in universities and pharmaceutical companies to develop nano-robotic implants that could be injected into our bodies to determine what diseases the host is susceptible to, and then autonomously administer drugs to prevent such disease.

In Robotic Process Automation, autonomous database administration and autonomous testing are revolutionizing the way we automate some of the mundane processes.

In each of these industries, besides the positive aspects, there are some negative implications such as the replacement of certain jobs with robots.

DigiconAsia: What are some guidelines for IT leaders to capitalize on this type of automation in 2022?

Shrikrishna: Before the pandemic, the workforce would rarely work remotely, especially in industries where security is of utmost importance. During the pandemic, since businesses have to operate as usual, and the workforce also has to work remotely, it has created a unique situation catalyzing a lot of innovation in various fields including network security, virtual workplaces, conferencing etc.

Unfortunately, due to the loss of revenue during the pandemic, many people lost their jobs. This has resulted in businesses adapting the concept of “automating the automation” to fill the attrition.

In a nutshell, I strongly believe that the IT leaders are more than ready to start taking advantage of this opportunity in the year to come, and that the rate of adoption is only going to increase in the coming years.

DigiconAsia: Tell us how automating automation can be accelerated by the current trend towards digitalization. 

Shrikrishna: Natural Language Processing, AI, ML, IoT and other related technologies have significantly accelerated the process of automating automation process.

For example, software development environments, our autonomous testing tool can generate test automation scripts in a matter of minutes instead of hours, relying on Natural Language Processing to understand English requirements and convert them into automation scripts.

Soon enough, you will start seeing this technology expand beyond testing into application development from functional and logical requirements documented in English.

Imagine having the ability to reduce the software development and release lifecycle from weeks to days or even hours. Machine Learning has made prediction and analysis much more accurate than ever before in effectively predicting what consumers want, leading to a better consumer experience.

For hardware processes, IoT technology has enabled humans to remotely control equipment in hazardous working conditions without being onsite most of the time.

DigiconAsia: With more jobs at risk next year, what unemployment trends can we look forward to?

Shrikrishna: A commonly perceived challenge is that technology will negatively impact the workforce and the labor market.

It is true that some jobs will be lost: however, in the process, a lot more jobs that will be created. The way I think of it is, there will be a shift in the demand for skill sets. This has been happening for centuries.

For example, back in the early 1900s, before the invention of alarm clocks, there were human alarm clocks who would wake people up by knocking on their front door or throwing something at their bedroom window. When the alarm clock was invented, these jobs were completely obliterated, but people were able to learn other skills and find appropriate jobs.

In a similar fashion, people who have lost jobs will need to update themselves with newer and more relevant skills that may even lead to securing a higher paying career.

DigiconAsia thanks Shrikrishna for his insights.