A lack of investment reduces operational effectiveness

Operational leaders believe that under-investment in technology undermines the effectiveness of their teams—especially when additional workloads are expected. That’s according to a new global study conducted by market research firm iResearch on behalf of Pegasystems.

Operations teams are responsible for people, budgets, project execution, transformation initiatives, and operational strategy, and are critical to business success. Yet, 50% of respondents to the Pegasystems study believe operations are not receiving enough investment to be truly efficient. Almost two-thirds (64%) believe that additional investment would significantly improve the effectiveness of their teams. Keeping up with the latest technologies will be crucial over the next five years, according to 73% of study participants. Appropriate investments in technology are key to building greater stability and predictability and de-risking within business processes. At the same time, the effects of expected large disturbances could presumably be mitigated in this way.

The study also found that operations teams will need to prepare for more significant changes over the next five years. Some of the changes to expect are:

    • Pervasive Automation: Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents said that automating routine administrative and IT tasks will have a “major or transformative” impact on operational functions over the next five years. The same percentage rate the impact of optimizing workflows through AI and automation similarly over the same period. These statements indicate that companies will place more emphasis on implementing AI-supported decision making and workflow automation.
    • Hybrid models instead of zero operations: Consultants and technologists have predicted “zero operations” for the future of operational functions, i.e. complete automation. However, respondents to the latest Pegasystems study indicated that a hybrid model with a mix of automation and face-to-face work is more likely. More than a quarter (29%) of participants said they are already too reliant on a manual approach to fully automate operations. For 26%, automation is out of the question because at least one specific person is needed to effectively perform an operational function.
    • Technical proficiency for line of business leaders: When asked which skills will be most important to themselves in the next three to five years, respondents named computer-based skills as the most important – around a third (32%) rated them as essential. But operational leaders will also need to upskill in other ways: Business strategy (31%) and collaborative (26%) skills are seen as important core competencies.
    • Rise of Ops Specialists: Increasing automation and hybrid operational capabilities will require greater numbers of specialists. Around half of respondents (48%) say they need to hire more experts to perform operational tasks they can’t automate or digitize. More than a third (36%) say they will reduce the number of generalists in the business.

“The next three to five years will be a time of significant change for everyone working in operations. Everyone on the team will need to adjust their workflows in one way or another,” said Eva Krauss, vice president, strategy & transformation at Pegasystems. “The good news is that technology is already available to minimize the disruptive potential impact on operational functions and instead make them successful. Efficient operations departments are the backbone of any high-performing organization. Therefore, there has never been a more important time to invest in the technologies that can guarantee the success of these teams.”