3 ways companies can prepare for the onslaught of automation

3 ways companies can prepare for the onslaught of automation
Photo: Rido81, Bigstock

The digital age is already upon us, but pundits are predicting that an unprecedented onslaught of automation is imminent.

There are companies that will be rendered obsolete by this onslaught, but there are also companies that will no doubt profit handsomely from it.

Let’s discuss 3 different ways that companies can prepare for the future onslaught of automation and even use it to their advantage.

1. Pair humans with machines for maximum productivity

Humans alone cannot perform certain tasks with the efficiency that machines can. Machines alone do not possess the creativity, dexterity or vision that humans do. But if you pair up humans with machines, drawing on the strengths of both, business as we know it will be completely revolutionized.

In healthcare, doctors will be able to diagnose patients’ ailments much more efficiently if they have the help of automated technologies.

In fact, we already know humans can’t compete with machines when it comes to diagnosing illnesses. Doctors have been beaten when it comes to diagnosing cancer in patients at an early stage. That being said, in cases of life and death we’ll never accept any predictions without humans double-checking.

It’s going to save a huge number of lives. Other industries will be similarly transformed, and I’m sure it will save lives in some cases too.

2. Be strategic in deciding which employees your company should keep

Estimates vary on how many employees will be made obsolete by robots and automation. Some researchers have determined that 40 percent of Australian workers are vulnerable to displacement from their jobs within the duration of the next 15 years. But if 40 percent of the workforce will become expendable in the immediate future, that means 60 percent should be retained.

Historically, a company’s people have been its strongest assets. This is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. The companies led by executives who can recognize and retain extraordinary people — people who have irreplaceable skills — will be the ones that come out ahead in the economy of the future.

Talented, experienced and well-educated managers will remain necessary in every industry to lead companies through the coming changes in the global workforce. To be honest, lots of unskilled workers will still be crucial too. It depends entirely on the specific tasks needed to be carried out each day. It’s a good thing because it means the poor won’t necessarily end up in huge trouble causing even more problems for our society.

Human resources managers will be especially important players in the economy of the future, according to a new report by Deloitte. One of the HR manager’s most important responsibilities will be to retrain employees for their new roles. Technologically driven change in the workplace is inevitable. Large numbers of employees may need to be redeployed to other departments within their organisations, or have new responsibilities delegated to them.

The analysts at Deloitte are forecasting a need for 2.3 percent more human resources professionals in Australia by the year 2022. To help meet the increasing demand for human resources managers who are well equipped to deal with the coming onslaught of automation, RMIT University makes an online Master of HR Management Degree available. It is widely believed that HR managers who have the ideal combination of emotional intelligence, education and HR work experience will remain valued employees for the foreseeable future.

3. Learn from your competitors’ technology strategies

Examine the assumptions that drive your company’s current business strategies and attitudes toward technology. Determine if any of them should be adapted to embrace the emerging business environment. Make an action plan to implement any new strategies that would be improvements over the old ones. Implement an exit strategy to dispense with outdated assets your company will no longer need.

It’s obvious that continued and sustained innovation is the only way forward. These 3 strategies could help any company survive and prosper during the years of dramatic change that lie ahead.