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New McKinsey Survey Highlights Progress With Automation

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New McKinsey Survey Highlights Progress With Automation

Let's take a look at the progress with automation according to a new McKinsey survey. Also, explore how to get small companies on board.

· AI Zone ·
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I've written a few times previously about the relative progress being made in digital transformation more widely, and AI-driven transformation specifically. This has been emphasized by a recent survey from McKinsey, which showed that whilst many companies are dabbling with AI and automation, a relatively small number are actually achieving anything.

The same survey suggests there are signs of progress, however. For instance, some 75% of respondents said that their company had begun to automate some processes or at least plan to do so within the next year. The survey also suggests a number of approaches that help to make adoption of automation a success:

  • Make automation a strategic priority — It perhaps goes without saying that when companies do this, it significantly increases the chance of success because it ensures the resources required are made available.
  • Deploy technology systematically — Interestingly, the authors suggest that whether you use a traditional waterfall method or a more modern agile approach to deployment is largely irrelevant, with the key being to deploy the technology systematically rather than in an ad hoc manner.
  • Ensure governance is decentralized — Interestingly, whilst it seems to be crucial that automation is a strategic imperative, it's also vital to success that governance be decentralized, with individual units or functions responsible for delivering automation.
  • Internalize the costs of automation (and their benefits) — With a particular focus on the total cost of ownership (TCO). Most of those with successful deployments revealed that their leaders understood the TCO for automation projects very well.
  • Prioritize workforce management — Skills has been a constant in most discussions around AI and automation, and there is a broad consensus now that companies need new skills to get the best out of these new technologies. At the most successful companies, addressing the skills-gap was rated a top five priority, whereas at less successful companies it fell much lower down the list.

The survey goes on to reveal that the move towards automation is one that is happening throughout the world, with many companies at least dabbling in AI technology, with more planning to do so in the next year. Whilst many industries are venturing down this path, it's perhaps not surprising to see high-tech sectors leading the way. Some 75% of high-tech and telecom companies are at least piloting AI in their business.

Getting Small Companies on Board

A common refrain when analyzing productivity statistics is that small companies are lagging behind in the adoption of new technologies, and this is also revealed in the survey, with a 15% gap emerging between large and small companies.

The results suggest that the best strategy for small companies is to ensure their IT team is fully on board with their efforts. At 80% of the most successful companies, the IT team were central from the very beginning.

It also transpired that understanding the costs involved was also key. Roughly half of the most successful small businesses reported a detailed understanding of the TCO of automation, with talent management also found to be a priority.

In other words, the strategies seem to be largely consistent between companies of whatever size, and the authors conclude with a number of tips to help leaders reap the rewards of automation:

  1. Make it a priority
  2. Focus on roles and people
  3. Expand ownership and adoption
automation ,ai ,ai-driven transformation ,progress with automation

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