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October 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected enterprises across all industry ecosystems in a wide variety of ways. While some of the impacts vary based on infrastructure, business models, customer needs, etc., there has been one constant: Businesses have been forced to move to an entirely remote way of work, at least in the short term. With that, many firms across industries are now looking to evaluate what the long-term work situation will look like for their employees – whether they will be fully remote, return to the office, or a hybrid of the two. 

Likewise, this shift has exposed the need for updated systems, including increased cybersecurity efforts and stronger, more sustainable networks. With every passing day, organizations are continuing their individual journeys aimed at bridging the gap between their pre COVID-19 plans and strategies and the unpredictable post-pandemic industry.

As organizations continue their journeys toward new technological advancements and innovation amidst the pandemic, one facet of technological advancement that comes into question is, what’s next for automation? There is no doubt that things will look different, but the fundamentals and purpose for automation remain the same – and enterprises that have been tasked with rapid infrastructural transformation, digital enablement, workforce reimagination, and more can find solace in an increased automation investment.

AI in the Workplace: A Decades-Long Debate

For years, companies and consumers have weighed the pros and cons of automation and artificial intelligence. There has been a fear around the use of automation as a way to replace and optimize mundane tasks that free up employees for other cognitive-driven work. There has also been a stigma surrounding automation that it is going to replace the role of the human in enterprise outright, and ultimately put people out of work.

While it is important for enterprises to consider the direct impact technological investments will have on their employees and the communities they service, there is a way for these enterprises to implement AI and automation while still maintaining the crucial ‘human’ aspect of the ‘human plus machine’ equation. Now more than ever – as enterprises are strapped for resources, surges in demand continue to spike for businesses that are deemed essential, etc. – there is an overall uncertainty around how consumer habits will shift, how the future of work will be defined and how enterprises will be able to both remain afloat in the short-term, while also reinventing themselves for long-term resiliency.

Automation holds the key for helping these enterprises make this shift seamlessly, ensuring that demand is met at scale for any functional need within the enterprise – and ultimately freeing up the employees that had been in charge of those tasks for opportunities to grow into other important roles within an organization. 

The Future of Automation within IT

We saw firsthand how artificial intelligence and machine learning supported firms and helped them navigate the medical field at the start of the pandemic – and the use cases and needs for related services, like automation, continue to remain evident. Going forward, enterprises of all industries are going to be rebuilding a lot of their IT infrastructure from the ground-up – whether it be to develop a long-term remote workforce or to build an entirely new business model through SaaSification. 

As these enterprises go through this transition, they should look to lean on automation first when building said infrastructure. They should ask, ‘how can we automate this process’ to remove as many manual touchpoints as possible, minimize unnecessary downtime and risk of manual error, and to continue utilizing employees for higher-level strategic tasks.

If enterprises build these new infrastructures with automation as the backbone, they will be able to better scale and innovate going forward – as new technological advancements and shifts in consumer habits continue to evolve the priorities and expectations of all industry leaders.

Gopinathan Krishnaswami is the Global Head of the software segment in the HiTech Business Unit at Tata Consultancy Services. He oversees sales and delivery, builds global strategic infrastructure partnerships and go-to-market strategies, and drives joint offerings and business to customers in the software segment. Gopi has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, spanning business and IT strategy, IT and infrastructure services, and customer and partner relationship management. Besides, he brings extensive experience in strategic planning, business development, alliance management, team building and leadership, communication, innovation, and delivery excellence. Gopi lives in the Bay Area, California and has an engineering degree from the University of Madras, Chennai, India.


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