November 7, 2023 By Bill Lobig 3 min read

For business leaders exploring ways to apply generative AI within their companies, it can be difficult to discern where to start, what will scale easily and what will deliver the greatest ROI. But the answer may be much simpler than it seems: automation. When AI is integrated into automation technology it’s referred to as “intelligent automation,” and it’s a high-impact way for businesses to put generative AI to work.

The IBM Institute for Business Value recently published its latest global study, “Seizing the AI and automation opportunity,” an analysis of 2,000 interviews with executives from across industries, which reveals C-suite leaders are recognizing the operational, and ultimately financial, benefits of intelligent automation. According to the report, a stunning 92% of executives surveyed expect to digitize their organization’s workflows and leverage AI-powered automation by 2026.

Why automation?

As businesses undergo digital transformation efforts and integrate data and technology throughout their operations and processes, they create the opportunity to automate business initiatives — however small or large — such as administrative tasks, workflows, monitoring, and integration across platforms. At the same time, digital transformation also greatly increases the complexity of the technology systems, platforms and infrastructure businesses run on, so it’s no surprise that IT organizations have been at the forefront of automation. The study shows that executives expect automation rates in IT service management, DevSecOps and IT operations management to double or more over the next three years.

For example, once a company is far enough along in its digital transformation, its systems may be so complex — with so much data running through it so quickly — that it’s nearly impossible for engineers to monitor on their own. This is one area where automation isn’t just nice to have, it becomes a business imperative. The right automation tool can monitor enormous amounts of information faster than any human brain, and alert engineers to issues based on pre-set rules around energy use, storage capacity, cost and other business-critical factors.

Now, apply generative AI to the already impactful automation technology. With generative AI, it’s not just monitoring; it’s identifying and learning patterns. And it’s not just alerting engineers to a problem; it’s drafting reports about likely causes and suggesting solutions — all before the issue even occurs.

IT organizations may seem like an obvious place to observe an ROI on intelligent automation, given the overwhelming amount of data that’s produced at speeds impossible for the human brain to process in real time. But just as IT systems are becoming more complex, so are business units across organizations.

Empowering teams across the organization

So where else does the combination of generative AI and automation prove powerful? All departments and employees are now expected to process more information more quickly and manage more data across more, sometimes incompatible, tools and platforms. Automation can be just as useful to streamline processes and eliminate the drudgery of repetitive tasks for these teams as it is for IT, but there has been one important barrier — the non-technical teams don’t have the necessary engineering skills to program automations.

Now, apply generative AI to the automation tool so non-technical employees can use natural language to program what they want automated, and that barrier is broken. Many business leaders are thinking about how they can implement technology in the workplace to empower employees and unlock productivity. In fact, 54% of executives surveyed said they are evaluating roles of automation and AI in delivering new ways of working.

Capitalize on automation opportunities

Digital transformation is necessary for any business to survive in today’s competitive, rapidly evolving global economy. It may bring complexity, but it also creates the opportunity for automation and the application of generative AI. Business leaders who want to find ways to apply generative AI should start by looking where automation could make — or perhaps is already making — a marked impact in their organizations.

The study found that 8 out of 10 C-suite executives agree that the benefits of generative AI are worth the potential risks. When you discover the power of generative AI and automation, it’s easy to see why.

Read the full IBM Institute for Business Value study
Was this article helpful?

More from Automation

Introducing IBM MQ version 9.4: Built for change

4 min read - We live in a world where businesses must be able to respond to change rapidly, whether it is to meet changing customer expectations or to take advantage of technology shifts that, while disruptive, offer the ability to surpass competitors. This is often at odds with the continual pressures that businesses face around reducing risk and costs across IT operations. To perform well against these diverse challenges, businesses must have an architectural foundation that: is stable and robust to reduce risk…

IBM Hybrid Cloud Mesh and Red Hat Service Interconnect: A new era of app-centric connectivity 

2 min read - To meet customer demands, applications are expected to be performing at their best at all times. Simultaneously, applications need to be flexible and cost effective, and therefore supported by an underlying infrastructure that is equally reliant, performant and secure as the applications themselves.   Easier said than done. According to EMA's 2024 Network Management Megatrends report only 42% of responding IT professionals would rate their network operations as successful.   In this era of hyper-distributed infrastructure where our users, apps, and data…

How AI-powered recruiting helps Spain’s leading soccer team score

4 min read - Phrases like “striking the post” and “direct free kick outside the 18” may seem foreign if you’re not a fan of football (for Americans, see: soccer). But for a football scout, it’s the daily lexicon of the job, representing crucial language that helps assess a player’s value to a team. And now, it’s also the language spoken and understood by Scout Advisor—an innovative tool using natural language processing (NLP) and built on the IBM® watsonx™ platform especially for Spain’s Sevilla…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters