Insufficient technology investment is hindering operational efficiency

Eva Krauss, Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, Pegasystems

Operations leaders believe insufficient investment in tech could hold back the effectiveness of their departments to manage expected periods of additional significant change, according to new research by Pegasystems Inc., the software company that crushes business complexity.

What are the main concerns of operations leaders?

The global study by Pegasystems conducted by research firm iResearch, surveyed operations leaders from 10 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific for their thoughts on what the future holds for operations functions over the next five years.

With responsibility for people, budgets, project delivery, transformation, and strategy, operations teams can make or break the success of any modern organisation.

Notwithstanding this, the research showed 50% of respondents feel that operations does not currently get the level of investment needed to be truly effective. This is despite the fact that nearly two thirds (64%) say additional investment in technology would have a significant transformational impact in both the efficiency and effectiveness of operations teams.

73% say that the ability to keep up to date with the latest tech will be key over the next five years, with investment in tech seen as key to building greater resiliency and predictability for operations functions, while also potentially mitigating the impact of the next big disruption.

What were the key insights of Pegasystems survey?

The study also found that the next five years are predicted to bring a period of additional significant change for operations teams, with technology expected to play a key role in enabling the successful operations functions of tomorrow for those prepared to make the required investment. Some of the expected changes to occur include:

A move to ubiquitous automation

Seventy-one percent of respondents say the automation of routine administrative and IT tasks will have either a ‘big or transformational’ impact on the operations function over the course of the next five years, while the same percentage also indicated that optimising workflow through AI and automation will have a similar impact over the same period.

This suggests firms will place greater emphasis on implementing AI-powered decisioning and workflow automation to streamline processes by reducing inefficiencies and unlocking value.

The future is hybrid, not zero operations

While many consultants and technologists have predicted that the future of the operations function is ‘zero operations’, in which everything is automated, respondents indicated that a hybrid model, with a mixture of automation and in-person, seems the most likely.

Almost one third (29%) say they were too committed to a hands-on, human approach to fully automate their operations function, while one quarter (26%) say they require a specific person to perform the role effectively, meaning they are unable to automate.

 Ops leaders will need to become more tech savvy

When asked which competencies will be most vital to them in the next five years, respondents identified digital skills as the most significant – with 32% citing them as key. Leaders will also be required to upskill themselves in other ways, with business strategy (31%) and collaboration (26%) deemed to be important competencies to develop.

The rise of the ops specialist

The rise of automation and hybrid operations functions will see a greater number of operations specialists. Half of respondents (48%) say they will need to hire more specialists to handle operations work that can’t be automated or digitised, while over one third (36%) say they will reduce the number of generalists in operations roles.

“The next three to five years will be a period of significant change for everyone working in operations teams, with every person on the team asked to adapt the way they work in one way or another,” said Eva Krauss, vice president, strategy & transformation, Pegasystems.

“The good news is that the technology is available to both minimise the disruptive impact this can have on the operations function and allow it to thrive. Efficient operations teams provide the backbone of any high-performing organisation, and there’s never been a more important time to invest in technology that can set these teams on the path to success.”

Read Pegasystem’s Navigating disruption will be no minor operation report.