Uncertain economy spurs growth in AI office automation

Enterprise technology leaders are relying on artificial intelligence and other software automation tools to help companies grow in the short term without hiring additional staff.

CIOs and other enterprise technology executives say that while some of these efforts predated the current economic uncertainty, as pressure mounts on employers to do more with less — Including Fewer Workers – Until market conditions improve, many efforts are being accelerated or expanded.

Diogo Rau, executive vice president and chief information and digital officer at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, said the goal of its AI automation strategy is to drive growth without increasing company wages.

Diogo Rau, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Eli Lilly.


Eli Lilly

gentlemen. Rau said the company last year came up with the concept of a “digital human equivalent” — a way to measure the productivity of an automated process versus the cost of paying a worker to do the same task.

Elsewhere, Eli Lilly is using the approach to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of developing and maintaining an AI-enabled translation application to process reports and other documents in dozens of languages ​​from research labs around the world. Reports are often filled with scientific jargon that takes a professional to decipher, sir. Law said. Since most professional translators are paid by the word, he said, “how much would it cost if we outsourced to workers.”

In most cases, a company’s growing “digital workforce” is more cost-effective, sir. Law said.

Same, sir. Rau is applying natural language models to generate internal clinical reports to replace on-the-job medical writers. “We won’t have to hire medical writers for a few years,” he said.

About one-third of the more than 2,000 global enterprise technology executives surveyed by IT market research firm Gartner were spurred in part by economic turmoil and widespread adoption of cloud computing company

AI-driven automation software will account for the lion’s share of new or additional funding in the coming year, said the firm.

All told, Gartner expects global enterprise spending on AI and other software automation systems to increase to $728.9 billion this year from $643.3 billion in 2022. The forecast covers spending on various decision, process and task automation tools and platforms that companies aim to deploy for as many IT processes as possible. Beyond AI, it includes robotic process automation software and low-code and no-code applications that enable workers outside of IT centers to create their own automated software programs for any number of tasks.

Microsoft company

Last month, it said it planned to integrate artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT into all of its enterprise software and platforms.

According to a recent study by technology market research firm International Data Corp, while artificial intelligence and software automation can increase efficiency and improve customer service, the main reason businesses are accelerating the adoption of automation technology is to reduce operating costs, including wages.

“Numbers are always the most important thing,” says Jean-Marc Chanoine, global vice president of account management and sales at document automation startup Templafy.

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Templafy automates the process of creating business emails, documents and presentations using consistent formatting and corporate branding guidelines. For the next six months, Mr. Templafy expects document automation requests to grow 132% year-over-year, Chanoine said.

TurboTax owner Intuit company

Ashok Srivastava, the company’s chief data officer, said the company has expanded its use of an AI platform with natural language capabilities designed to direct users who have questions about their returns to the appropriate tax specialist.

Among other benefits, he said, the move avoids hiring temporary workers during tax season to handle surges in demand. “It’s a classic two-way market problem,” he said. Srivastava said he was referring to efforts to match the growing number of calls with an army of tax experts across the country.

At the end of the line, there’s a human expert connecting with customers outside, he said, “but a lot of that experience is powered by AI.”

Pitney Bowes company,

The century-old logistics company recently automated processes involved in cross-border shipments, which include determining shipment classifications, taxes and filling out extensive paperwork.

“This has historically been a manual process,” said James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes. Rather than having employees collect and enter data, he said, the company’s bespoke artificial intelligence systems do their jobs in near real time. Applying AI to speed up tasks could boost sales at Pitney Bowes by allowing business customers to streamline international sales and ultimately ship more items, he said.

The automated system also improves service by using more data to better align quotes with actual costs, Mr. Fairweather said.

Over the next year, he hopes to step up efforts to identify manual processes and replace them with automated systems where possible.

“The automation mindset is expanding to how you automate your entire business,” Mr. Fairweather said.

Write to Angus Loten at Angus.Loten@wsj.com

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