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Business Process Automation Enabled by AI Apps

Senior executive demand for digital transformation that incorporates business process and workflow automation has motivated leading organizations to double their investment in artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

According to the latest market study by Gartner, 80 percent of executives think automation can be applied to any business decision. As automation becomes embedded in digital business, a recent survey revealed how organizations are evolving their use of AI apps.

"The survey has shown that enterprises are shifting away from a purely tactical approach to AI and beginning to apply AI more strategically," said Erick Brethenoux, VP analyst at Gartner.

Business Process Automation Market Development

For example, a third of organizations are applying AI across several business units, creating a stronger competitive differentiator by supporting decisions across business processes.

The Gartner survey was conducted online in the U.S. market, in Germany, and in the UK, within organizations that have already deployed AI, or intend to deploy AI within three years.

The survey revealed that on average, 54 percent of AI projects make it from pilot to production. This is a slight increase from the Gartner 2019 survey, which reported an average of 53 percent of AI projects move to production.

Scaling AI continues to be a significant challenge. Organizations still struggle to connect the algorithms they are building to a business value proposition, which makes it difficult for IT and business leadership to justify the investment it requires to operationalize models.

Forty percent of organizations surveyed indicated that they have thousands of AI models deployed. This creates governance complexity for the organization, further challenging data and analytics leaders’ ability to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) from each model.

While talent shortages are often assumed to impact AI initiatives, the survey found it is not a significant barrier to AI adoption. Seventy-two percent of executives reported that they have or can source the AI talent they need.

"The most successful organizations use a combination of in-house development and external hiring for AI talent. This ensures that the team renews itself continuously by learning new AI skills and techniques and considering new ideas from outside the organization," said Brethenoux.

Security and privacy concerns were not ranked as a top barrier to AI adoption, cited by just 3 percent of executives surveyed. Yet, 41 percent of organizations reported they have previously had a known AI privacy breach or security incident.

Outlook for Workflow Automation Apps Growth

When asked which parties the organization was most worried about for AI security, 50 percent of respondents cited concerns about competitors, partners, or other third parties. Meanwhile, 49 percent were more concerned about malicious hackers.

However, among organizations that have already encountered an AI security or privacy incident, 60 percent reported a data compromise by an internal party within their own organization.

That said, I anticipate more use cases of AI for employee workflow automation will include a combination of other related app developer technologies. As an example, some no-code or low-code integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) tools utilize AI for workflow and business process automation.

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