Automation adoption is about to accelerate, but success is far from guaranteed. With economic recovery at stake, businesses risk making the same short-termist mistakes that have seen automation investments fail to succeed at scale over the past decade. Before rushing into quick fixes, business leaders should remember the old adage: haste makes waste. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said last week the company had seen “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months” thanks to coronavirus shifting everything online. 41% of respondents to an EY survey said they were investing in accelerating automation as businesses prepared for a post-crisis world. But unless businesses can lay the foundation for successful projects – a vision for strategic growth, human augmentation and cleared process debt – then this could all backfire. 

Avoid repeating quick-fix mistakes of the past decade

Is this automation’s gold rush equivalent? If so, businesses should slow down and remind themselves that automation alone is rarely the answer, and jumping in at the deep end often leads to aimlessness and confusion. No singular tool can deliver profound transformation. The pitfalls of adoption are laid out bare in joint research from KPMG and HFS Research (below), which demonstrates that for all of the past decade’s investment in slick emerging technologies, the majority of businesses have failed to scale-up and industrialise for a truly transformative impact. 

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