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How Automation Can Recession-proof Your Enterprise

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The global economy is in its steepest downturn after a brief spurt of post-pandemic growth. Moreover, the expectation of a full-fledged economic rebound in 2023 has dissipated quickly with the slowing down of the world’s three largest economies – the United States, China and the European Union. The macroeconomic indicators of most countries look uninspiring, which is having a cascading effect on the business outlook across sectors and industries. However, the impact of the likely recession is most visible among enterprises that are rethinking their setup and headcount. For instance, technology enterprises have laid off over 50,000 American employees in 2022 alone to streamline their workforces, save costs and increase agility. And the trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future in the wake of supply-side disruptions due to geopolitical developments and global pressure on labor markets.  

These seminal changes to established paradigms and the prevalent uncertainty are expected to impact enterprises in several ways, altering employer-employee relationships. Besides, enterprises may focus more intently on digitizing and automating their processes and workflows. 

Why Greater Thrust on Digitization and Automation Matters

Enterprises expedited their digitization and automation-related initiatives after the pandemic came knocking. They moved from legacy systems and manual processes to AI/ML-powered tools and software packages. However, the abrupt shift offered a steep learning curve as business leaders addressed teething problems like interoperability and integration. 

This transition will gather further momentum as enterprises continue to optimize costs and resources, a recently conducted McKinsey Global Survey, which represents a mix of technology-driven and traditional companies, suggests. Almost all survey respondents believe that their firms could automate at least one-fifth of all tasks. However, only 20% of them agree to have already scaled automation to several aspects of their businesses. These findings indicate that enterprises are considering automating their processes, egged on by the prospects of attracting high-quality skilled workforces by positioning themselves as technology-savvy and future-forward. 

Automation can help enterprises address several pressing issues. We have listed some of them below. 

Employee Engagement

A steep decline in employee engagement has worried businesses. Prolonged stress, burnout and anxiety, and lack of in-person professional interactions have impacted employee morale and lowered employee engagement. These factors have also contributed to trends like Quiet Quitting and The Great Resignation, and intensified the race to acquire and retain top talent. 

Automation will attain greater mainstream acceptance as augmenting employee engagement becomes more important for senior leaders. Enterprises can improve employee productivity by automating monotonous tasks such as filling timesheets, and engage their workforces in more productive and business-critical tasks. Moreover, enterprises are increasingly weaving automation into their Employee Value Proposition (EVP), indicating the importance of technology-driven initiatives in gaining the attention of skilled workforces. 

Talent Shortages

The talent acquisition landscape has undergone a metamorphosis in the past two years. Global workforces have reset the employer-employee relationship, demanding flexibility and a better work-life balance. Unfortunately, these changes have caused high turnovers across businesses. While businesses find newer ways to address employees’ concerns, employees will continue to look for better opportunities, causing a shortage of highly-skilled workers. 

Automation can help businesses manage their processes and optimize their existing resources to ensure profitability. It can also help enterprises plug revenue leakages, empower managers by helping them identify best-fit resources, and manage globally-diverse remote and hybrid teams. Hence, automation can act as a force multiplier for businesses.

Collecting and Interpreting Accurate Data

The ability to make informed business decisions on the go differentiates good from exceptional businesses. Therefore, business leaders and managers need access to granular and real-time data and analytics to create actionable and deployable plans. Enterprises that empower their leaders with accurate data and analytics will benefit immensely from improved business outcomes and client, vendor and employee management capabilities. Hence, enterprises are adopting Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools. Polaris PSA is one such AI-powered solution that offers real-time visibility into critical business metrics by streamlining resourcing, financials, and project information, giving an up-to-date view of business performance. 

Facilitating Remote and Hybrid Workplace Ecosystems 

Managing remote and hybrid workforces effectively will help enterprises negate the impact of the global recession

According to GoodHire’s 2022 remote work survey, a third of all respondents preferred quitting their jobs or applying for new jobs in the absence of remote options. Meanwhile, 45% of US workers chose a pay cut instead of having the chance to work remotely. These insights reinforce the notion that remote and hybrid workplaces are here to stay, and enterprises must accommodate employees’ desire for flexibility. Plus, remote and hybrid workplaces and the proliferation of digital apps have cumulatively exacerbated the problem of data silos. This, in turn, has complicated the process of accurately remembering, capturing and accounting for time spent on various projects and tasks. Automation tools can enable enterprises to manage large and geographically dispersed teams and interpret vast data to make informed decisions. 

Automation Can Be Daunting! 

The buzz around digitization and automation is at dizzying heights. Besides, the market is replete with numerous service providers who offer a host of professional services automation (PSA) solutions. Therefore, choosing the best PSA solution for your business can become complicated and time-consuming. Enterprises should ideally assess whether or not the PSA solution is scalable, which means it should have the ability to grow consistently. In addition, it should offer intelligent finance and resource management capabilities that can help enterprises make intelligent forecasting and allocation-related decisions. 

Making wholesome changes to proven processes may seem daunting for business leaders, as automation is a one-way street. In that case, they can start small by automating simpler processes like attendance and payroll to understand and internalize the changes before pushing for large-scale automation in their enterprises. 

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Shashank Shekhar


Shashank Shekhar


Shashank Shekhar has been a Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for over 9 years. He specializes in writing about technology trends like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and their impact on shaping the project management landscape with tools like professional services automation solutions and time-tracking solutions. Outside of work, he loves reading about history, astrophysics and geopolitics.


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