Nearly half (48%) of all office workers in the UK believe that automation technologies will have a positive impact on their organisation, according to research by Capgemini.
The IT consulting firm surveyed more than 1,000 UK office workers to learn more about their attitudes and expectations regarding new technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning.
It found that 40% of respondents believe machine learning will have a potentially positive impact in the workplace, and 32% said the same for robotics. Only 10% of respondents felt that automation would have a negative impact.
Automation is not seen as a far-off concept, but something that can benefit the workplace now.
In the survey, 47% of respondents said they have given serious thought as to how automation technologies can support their department with its day-to-day processes – and this rises to 85% among those office workers who are responsible for finances.
Business owners and directors who were questioned as part of the survey believe that as much as 40% of business tasks in their organisation could be automated in the next three to five years. Tasks such as invoicing (41%), managing expense claims (28%), reporting (28%) and administration tasks (28%) were highlighted as having the potential for automation in the near future, Capgemini said.
The perceived benefits of automation include freeing up staff time to do higher value, core business tasks (27%), lowering costs (25%) and improving the accuracy of results (21%).
However, the survey also uncovered challenges to organisations adopting automation technologies, such as implementation costs, a shortage of time, skills and expertise, and a lack of infrastructure.
Lee Beardmore, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Capgemini’s Business Services Unit, said: “I would urge all businesses to not only start thinking about the potential value of automation technologies, but to also start looking at the skills and expertise they need within their organisation for future implementation, to stay competitive in the years to come.”