85% of companies around the world have accelerated automation due to the pandemic

Implementation in a matter of weeks of emerging technology
The coronavirus pandemic will speed up automation and robotization of workflows, which in turn will boost employee demand in information management departments and data analysts.

Monday, November 16, 2020, 11:52 GMT

These are the findings drawn by McKinsey experts who interviewed 800 top-level bosses around the world in enterprises of different sizes.

Unprecedented travel and physical contact constraints, as well as changes in customer behaviour, have caused companies to modify how they work. Not in months or years, but in a matter of weeks, digital transitions have been carried out. 85% of respondents, for instance, said their organizations have increased the introduction of new communication technology for workers.

Around half of those surveyed have said that, even via smartphone apps and chat bots, they are constantly digitizing consumer engagement platforms. Through linking their vendors to related online networks, about 35 percent of firms have further digitized their supply chains.

The impact of artificial intelligence and robotics has grown

The enhanced influence of robots, autonomous vehicles and AI-powered applications has been recognized by industry leaders around the world when it comes to individual technologies. In the face of social distancing, these developments are attributed to the fact that technology makes it easier to abandon human encounters. Moreover it insures enterprises against the risk of the economic slowdown triggered by COVID-19. “Another plus: robots are not getting ill, “says the McKinsey report.

In the financial services industry, the highest automation rates were reported. The number of digital initiatives, a substantial part of which is linked to the application of artificial intelligence, has increased by 88 percent among organizations in this segment. This was in reaction to the increased demand for wire transfers and online payments. By around 20 percent, the number of downloads of the most popular Western smartphone financial apps has risen. On the one hand, after the pandemic, the banking sector was struck hard and on the other it had an adequate margin of protection to survive it. Technologies that were developed even prior to the appearance of the virus and continued to be introduced this year played a significant role in this. For starters, insurance providers may now settle a loss on an insured case remotely and assign a payout. And it’s a rough job for Alexander Tikhonov, CEO of SAS Russia/CIS.

Only every fifth top boss is not confident about automation’s progress.
Top administrators remain secure in their organisations’ abilities to deal with it through digital technologies, even in a world of incredibly rapid transition. On the road to a new reality, 82 percent of CEOs said they felt positive. The willingness to implement new technology even quicker than they had previously believed was one of the 2020 results for them.

As a result, 35% of respondents seek to employ more experts in the automation, artificial intelligence and robotics industries. Business companies such as Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, and AT&T have now set up systems to retrain their employees in new complementary abilities in this field that are losing jobs to technology.

When hiring, consultants and temporary employees are now favoured by executives. 70 percent of survey participants suggested that for at least two years they would be using temporary staff and consultants in their enterprises. As a supplier of analytics and artificial intelligence technologies, both in terms of projects of varying sizes and in terms of demand for specialists, we see a resurgence in the market. For starters, our intern program has not slowed down. “The need for analytics and machine learning specialists continues to develop, including for young specialists who have completed special training and understand which roles are ideally suited to which instruments and algorithms,” adds Alexander Tikhonov.