Automation spills over from IT to other departments

The role of IT has shifted from delivering projects to being an enabler of the business, with two-thirds (66%) of organisations now having five or more departments that use automation, according to Workato.

The enterprise automation platform’s 2022 Work Automation Index also found that the number of organisations with seven departments automating has nearly tripled since 2019. Close to a quarter (23%) of automations were built by non-technical users in business operations roles, the highest of any persona in both business and IT.

For this year’s report, anonymised data was collected from 900 midsize to enterprise Workato customers that use automation across their organisations. One-fifth (21%) of these businesses have a presence in the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ)region. 

Workato looked at all of the automated workflows created at these companies from February 2021 to January 2022, as well as compared to the period from February 2020 to January 2021 for year over year trends.

“From finance becoming the most automated department to HR seeing the value in automation to help improve the employee experience, we’ll continue to see this type of growth and adoption as automation becomes more accessible across departments,” said Carter Busse, CIO at Workato.

For the APJ region, financial automations are a big focus with record-to-report growing 569% in the past year, and procure-to-pay growing 514%.

Customer support operations is a big automation growth area in APJ. As retail continues to migrate online, the region is turning to automation to meet the ongoing need for customers to easily return items. Returns and refunds automations increased by a massive 1,005% for our user base in APJ.

Finance is the most automated department, surpassing IT for the first time and accounting for 26% of all automations. In the APJ region, record-to-report and procure-to-pay are the top two most automated processes.

HR automation continues to be a focus with recruiting automations growing 316%. As the competition for top talent continues and “work from anywhere” becomes the norm, HR teams are using automation to stand out and improve the employee experience right from the start.

Data creates a way for IT to add strategic value to the business. Businesses are striving to become more data-driven and to use their data to make real-time decisions. The DataOps function is one of the top departments with three times growth in automations in the past year.

“Business leaders recognize that solving problems with automation leads to business agility, innovation, and faster time to value,” said Massimo Pezzini, head of research at Workato. 

“With automation becoming the great equalizer, we’re seeing a foundational shift in how decision makers and those in non-technical roles are embracing automation solutions,” said Pezzini.