New forms of digital technology are upending the ways and means of business. Hierarchical organizational structures are giving way to matrix configurations and project-focused teams. Simultaneously, the pace at which work is done is accelerating, thanks to the voluminous data generated by mobile and other Internet-enabled devices. However, not all processes are equal when it comes to automation. A survey by ServiceNow found that while 54% respondents use intelligent automation in at least one business process, there are still automation gaps that need to be filled — prominent among them is HR, in which only 37% of all tasks are automated.
This lack of automation adds to the time HR managers spend on completing repetitive tasks manually. The amount of time lost ranges between 14 hours to 30 hours a week. This is in stark contrast to the pace at which enterprises are automating their processes. A survey by Willis Towers Watson, for example, found that by 2020 nearly 20% of work tasks performed by U.S. companies will be automated. If HR remains a laggard in this automation effort, it will inevitably lead to problems. For one, automation will eventually change work dynamics. Second, automation will require a different set of skills, pushing enterprises to rely more on part-timers, consultants and other outside contributors who power the gig economy and provide specific expertise as needed.