IDC: Human-machine collaboration ‘new normal’ for workplaces

“Ethical, responsible automation will create a more productive, happier future.”
26 November 2019

‘Digital workers’ can give a helping hand in the workplace. Source: Shutterstock

You can’t go for a drink with them and you might miss the workplace drama, but IDC predicts that contributions by software robots, or ‘digital workers’, will ramp up by 50 percent in the next two years. 

Research by the market intelligence firm— which was gathered from a survey of 500 senior decision-makers in large enterprises in Canada, US, Germany, France, and Australia illustrated a “fundamental shift” in the future of work dependent on human-machine collaboration. 

“A growing number of employees will find themselves working side-by-side with a digital coworker in the future as technology automates many work activities,” commented Holly Muscolino, Research Vice President of Content and Process Strategies and the Future of Work at IDC. 

“Think human and machine. The human-machine collaboration is not just the future of work, but it is the new normal for today’s high-performing enterprises.”

According to the IDC report, in the coming years, relationships with machines will manifest in more ways than the simple automation of mundane, repetitive tasks, which accounts for much of the synergy in current use. 

Instead, advances in machine learning and human-centric artificial intelligence will enable robot assistants to help employees make better decisions. 

This will allow technology to augment rather than replace human capabilities— the IDC found that technology evaluating information will grow by 28 percent in two years, and 18 percent of activities related to reasoning and decision making will be performed by machines. 

IDC forecasts that the intelligent process automation (IPA) software market, which includes content intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA), will grow from US$13.1 billion in 2019 to US$20.7 billion in 2023. 

Since many of the repetitive processes and tasks that are well suited for automation by RPA are document and content-centric, content intelligence technologies frequently go hand-in-hand with RPA in intelligent process automation use cases. 

Automation initiatives will also be enabled by process intelligence, a new generation of process mining tools providing complete visibility into business processes – the critical foresight needed to improve the success of an IPA project.

What’s behind this projected growth in investment? According to IDC, 40 percent of respondents are reporting increases in customer satisfaction and employee productivity as a result of deploying technologies such as content intelligence which, for example, can use AI and data to provide insights into vast archives of content that can help marketers improve and optimize their strategy to make comms more effective. 

“The IDC survey proves that automation can and should be human-centric, augmented with artificial intelligence,” said Bruce Orcutt, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing at ABBYY. 

Ethical, responsible automation will create a more productive, happier future where human workers can focus on higher-level, creative and sociallyresponsible tasks, and customers get better experiences with faster service.”