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Automation top investment priority for business in next two years

Digital workplace tools and automation are one of the top investment priorities for companies over the next two years, according to new research.

Consultancy Infosys’s Future of Work 2023 report found 30% of organisations were investing in automation to help boost profits.

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Leaders predicted a combined profit of £232 billion if they introduced more automation in their workplaces.   

The survey covered 12 industries across the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, focussing on how shifting trends and pressures on workforce, workplace, and workstyles contribute to profits and employee retention.

It found moving an organisation from no automation to completely automated lead on average to a 3.4% increase in profit.

Combining investment in AI and with a diverse hiring strategy hiring from a diverse talent pool had the potential to add the strongest growth, with an estimated 7.7% growth in profit.  

When asked what automation had taken place, many leaders pointed to the regular use of chat-based and VR/AR tools within their workplace.

In November, Microsoft-backed OpenAI unveiled new ChatGPT software, which can solve complex programming queries, pass legal exams and answer other questions. The tech now boasts 30 million members.

This week Google announced Bard, its version of an AI chatbot to compete with ChatGPT.

Connor Campbell, business expert at independent financial comparison website NerdWallet, said despite its potential, automation could mean future job losses.

He said: “The workers that could be affected by AI tools such as ChatGPT are likely to be in jobs that could use the tool for support. Content writers, marketers, web developers and customer service roles may be looking at the tool and wondering whether their jobs could be at risk in the future, if the technology becomes much more advanced.

“It’s important to note that the tool is currently an aid to workers, rather than a replacement. The technology has come a long way, and roles may change in the future to accommodate its use, but it isn’t quite so advanced that mass layoffs are forthcoming.”

The Infosys survey also found companies that increased their staff retention between 2020 and 2022 were almost a fifth more likely to see increased revenue and profit compared with those that saw retention fall during this period.

Infosys used an anonymous format to conduct an online survey of 2,500 senior executives and managers involved in workplace and workforce planning for companies with over $1 million in revenue.