Workato, the enterprise automation platform, unveiled its second annual Work Automation Index, the firm’s data report focused on the key trends that shaped automation over the past year. For this year’s report, the anonymized data was collected from 900 midsize to enterprise Workato customers who utilize automation across their organizations.
21% of these businesses have a presence in the Asia Pacific and Japan region. The data revealed a massive shift in which departments are using automation tools and creating those automations. During a time when the world is rapidly changing and organizations are finding that how we work is continually evolving, automation has become the great equalizer, creating an opportunity to be more efficient and deliver better business outcomes.
How is IT evolving in today’s working environment?
Workato discovered that the role of IT has shifted from delivering projects to being an enabler of the business. 66% of firms now have 5 or more departments using automation and the number of firms with 7 departments automating has nearly tripled since 2019.
“It’s amazing to see that IT teams are becoming the less dominant automation creators. This shows that when you have the right guardrails, the right governorship, and the right tools in place, business users can create automations safely,” said Carter Busse, CIO at Workato.
“From finance becoming the most automated department to HR seeing the value in automation to help improve the employee experience, we’ll continue to see this type of growth and adoption as automation becomes more accessible across departments.”
What were the key insights of Workato’s research?
This year’s report identified the following key findings:
APJ and EMEA regions are tapping into the power of automation
For the APJ region, financial automations are a big focus with record-to-report growing 569% in the past year, and procure-to-pay growing 514%. In EMEA, the growth in automations for processes like insights and analytics, which has grown 403% in the past year, as well as in financial processes like record-to-report, and in IT operations.
Customer support operations is a big automation growth area in APJ
The region is turning to automation to meet the ongoing need for clients to easily return items. Returns and refunds automations increased by a massive 1005% for APJ user base.
Departments outside of IT are automating more than ever before
The number of organizations with 7 departments automating has nearly tripled since 2019. According to Workato’s research, 23% of automations were built by non-technical users in business operations roles, the highest of any persona in both business and IT.
Finance rises to the top as the most automated department
Surpassing IT for the first time, Finance departments made up 26% of all automations. Order-to-cash continues to be one of the top automated processes with record-to-report automation also seeing significant growth with a 290% increase. In the Asia Pacific and Japan region, record-to-report and procure-to-pay are the top two most automated processes.
HR automation continues to be a focus
As the competition for top talent continues and “work from anywhere” becomes the norm, Human Resource teams are using automation to stand out and improve the employee experience right from the start. Workato reported recruiting automations grow at 316%
Data creates a way for IT to add strategic value to the business
Businesses are striving to become more data-driven and to use their data to make real-time decisions. The DataOps function is one of the top departments with 3x growth in automations in the past year according to Workato’s research findings.
What were Workato’s thoughts on the research findings?
“Business leaders increasingly recognize that pervasive use of automation technology leads to improved efficiency, greater business agility, faster innovation, and shorter time to value,” said Massimo Pezzini, Head of Research, Future of the Enterprise at Workato.
“Consequently, we’re seeing a foundational shift in how IT and business decision makers are embracing automation tools. A business-led, IT-enabled democratized model will become the dominant approach to automation over the next five years,” Massimo further commented.
Designed to uncover the workflows used and the role automation plays across departments, the 2022 Work Automation Index analysed 900 midsize ($50m to $2B in annual revenue) to enterprise (over $2B in annual revenue) Workato clients who use automation. The team looked at all of the automated workflows created at these firms from February 2021 to January 2022, and compared to the period from February 2020 to January 2021 for YoY.