Automation 'isn’t causing broad IT job losses'

Automation is enabling companies to realise “significant” productivity gains but it is not yet leading to “broad” job losses, an IT advisory claims.

However IT operations will be the area that the majority of corporate leaders say will be the most impacted by automation in the next two years, says Information Services Group (ISG).

And IT service providers themselves are leading the charge, as ISG says many have begun to automate business processes within their offerings, “quickly” to realise productivity gains.

RPA -- Robotic Process Automation -- is a case in point. By applying it, ISG found enterprises are executing business processes five to ten times faster, with an average of 37% fewer resources.

Such gains are so far not resulting in job losses, found the advisory, having quizzed enterprise buyers and service providers.

But the gains are enabling companies with contracts worth $5m a year in place to “redeploy” workers to handle “higher-value tasks and a greater volume of work.”

So rather than humans being displaced by machines, “humans are working alongside software robots, be they virtual agents or engineers,” says ISG’s director Stanton Jones.

As to the future, almost half of IT leaders indicated that automation of operations will have the biggest impact on their IT budgets -- specifically, throughout 2019. Service providers are apparently responding now.

“Nearly every IT outsourcing vendor is introducing some form of automation into its services,” Mr Jones said.

“Vendors are doing this most commonly with autonomics software, which automates standard operating procedures and correlates data to improve these procedures over time.”

He admitted that the research did not examine automation-inspired job loss at service providers, but ISG predicts automation will eventually lead to “workforce reductions” at both enterprises and providers.

“We are not there yet, because the impact of automation is still very much task-oriented,” the advisory said. “However, over time, as entire roles become automated, we do expect some job losses, but we also expect automation will create jobs”.

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