IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

The big decision: Choosing which jobs to automate

By Julia Gabel
Thu 26 Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Businesses need to heed the call of automation not just to remain competitive, but also to drive major top and bottom line impact.

A recent Cognizant study showed that businesses who are taking advantage of automation are reducing costs by an average of 8% while growing revenue by an average of 10%.

This doesn’t mean that businesses should be replacing people with robots.

It means instead that they should look to apply automation to their core processes such as payroll, asset management, help desk support, or server maintenance - areas of a business that lend themselves to the complexity and repetition that automation can service.

For business leaders, automation brings about an interesting opportunity to change the cost structure of their organisation, while increasing productivity and quality across the board.

The importance of agility

In order for an organisation to leverage the productivity and cost benefits from automation, it must be agile.

Competition is at an all-time high between organisations, and business leaders need to realise that adaptation and agility in their strategies are essential to the success of any automation strategy.

In order for businesses to run smoothly and efficiently, businesses need to invest in automation technologies that will grow, adapt and react to industry changes and shifts over time.

This means that businesses should embrace platforms that have the capacity to be modified in ways that work with varied contextual needs.

In addition, the ability to automate at minimal cost is key. Therefore, automation services that adapt or shift with changing needs and trends should be viewed as important long-term investments.

These sorts of agile solutions that grow with an organisation’s needs will also help to avoid the financial and time commitments required when integrating technologies or migrating from one system to another.

Automation always, in all ways

While automation is undoubtedly becoming more complex and sophisticated, automation itself has been around for some time. The truth is that automated processes are often so accepted as a part of everyday life that they aren’t clearly noticed.

We can see automation everywhere.

eTags on Australian motorways, using MYKI cards and Opal cards on public transport systems in Melbourne and Sydney, and withdrawing money from ATMs are just some of the many examples of how automation can be seen in all aspects of everyday life.

An important question to consider is where automation should take place in organisations.

The best answer? In core operations, specifically back- and middle-office tasks such as billing management, sales support and fraud detection.

The ability to run functions through automation at half the cost with continuous improvement and quality control as well as having thorough records of every action is tantalising to businesses.

These benefits, especially in reference to the significant opportunities to save money, transform automation into a ‘must’ for any business.

Finding the best tasks for process automation

The most important part of implementing automation is choosing the best opportunities within a business to automate.

Fundamentally, the best tasks to automate are those where the machine itself can take over the majority of the workload without the need for human intervention.

To ensure a successful automation strategy, there are certain criteria that businesses can look to select the types of tasks to automate. These include:

Tasks that are highly repetitive 

Tasks that are highly repetitive but occur frequently in organisations. By automating tasks that people do every day, such as processing invoices or proofreading documentation, businesses will be able to save money and time as well as increase overall efficiency.

Tasks with low demand for human judgement

While robots might not be able to make complex judgements, they have the ability to complete calculations at a fraction of the time it would take a person to complete the same task. In this way, tasks that rely on decision trees rather than on ambiguity and complex judgements can be taken on by machines in an effective manner. 

Tasks that require a low level of empathy

Understandably, processes that require human judgement will be difficult to automate. Instead, looking to automate tasks that rely more heavily on accuracy, consistency, or speed will free up the wider workforce to concentrate on the tasks that require nuance and empathy.

Tasks that generate and handle a large amount of data

Any processes with the potential to generate large amounts of data should be automated to collect data easily.

People have a strictly finite memory and won’t be able deal with massive amounts of data, and as such, machines and robots are the best way to manoeuvre through seemingly endless pools of data.

The businesses that don’t manage to keep pace with automation are the ones whose cost structure will quickly become unsustainable.

Rather than attempt to fight the burgeoning role that automation will play, the organisations that recognise the great levels of efficiency and value automated processes present are the ones that will have a foot up as automation becomes a core component of any future business strategy.

Article by Benjamin Pring, director of Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
trust
Consumers want personalisation, but don't trust brands with their data
Customers expect personalisation during every brand interaction but they don't trust brands to keep their personal data secure and to use it responsibly. 
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Orbital Insight
Orbital Insight solution set to drive better data-driven decisions
The company says the new Site Intelligence solution will provide granular visibility, behaviour analytics and deep insights about customers and competitors at any location. 
Story image
B2B
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
rapidMATION helps Coates achieve success with landmark RPA solution
A strong Robotic Process Automation solution (RPA) can help solve many complex issues that businesses face daily. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
eInvoicing
Airwallex, Xero extend partnership with easier invoice payments
Airwallex has extended its long-term partnership with Xero by releasing a new payment link integration for Xero invoices that will make receiving them easier and faster for Australian businesses.
Story image
F5 Networks
Telstra, F5 team up to bolster services and solutions
“This partnership demonstrates our ongoing investment into APAC as we continue delivering high value services and solutions to our partners and customers."
Story image
Disaster Recovery
Eaton provides business continuity with disaster avoidance application
Many SMBs often struggle with problems relating to UPS and IT assets due to the sheer amount of time and resources required to run effectively. 
Story image
Data
How a single mandate changed software development forever
There’s conjecture about exactly when it was issued and by whom, but a mandate made twenty years ago is continuing to shape the software development process today.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
Shouta
The rise of digital gifting in the workplace
The name itself does most of the explaining; it’s a gift you receive virtually. But a misconception about digital gifts is that they need to be redeemed virtually as well. 
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Testing
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Tricentis
Tricentis provides software testing automation, and software quality assurance products for enterprise software.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Apple
Jamf updates healthcare IT to protect data on Apple devices
Jamf has rolled out new functionality to help healthcare and IT teams protect patient data and streamline clinical access for their Apple fleet.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
Training
Employers look to hire inexperienced coders due to skills shortage
"Even inexperienced workers without prior qualifications or experience had managed to pivot to new roles in coding as long as they are willing to upskill."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Apptio adds portfolio enhancements to promote digital strategy
"While digitalisation creates opportunities, it also makes budgeting far more complex, leading many companies to waste substantial funds."
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Open source
DataStax secures US$115 million to fund database expansion
DataStax has secured US$115 million in funding, which it will use to develop and expand its Astra DB multi-cloud database and Astra Streaming service globally.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
SaaS
Sealord partners with Infor to improve sustainability
Sealord has chosen Infor as a strategic partner to implement an operational cloud-based platform that provides day-one functionality and sustainability gains.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Salesforce harnesses automated solutions with new developments
Salesforce has launched Sales Cloud Unlimited, a new feature to help accelerate productivity with AI and automation.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Healthcare
Workday winning on culture and family focus
This family-first approach sees all employees receive access to family-wide private healthcare cover, as well as income protection and life insurance policies.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.