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Digital workforce, Industry 5.0 to reshape Australia in 2023
Tue, 10th Jan 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The rise of the digital workforce and Industry 5.0 will be among four big trends that will reshape how Australia works from 2023, according to new predictions from enterprise automation software company UiPath.

"The sustained work-from-anywhere environment and the global skills shortage means that Australian public and private sector organisations have had to rethink the way they work and how best to attract and retain talent," says Mark Fioretto, Area Vice President and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, UiPath.
"These environmental factors have led to four emerging workplace trends that will reshape the way Australian organisations and their employees work into the future."

Trend One: Rapid Growth in End-to-End Enterprise Automation  

With the tightest labour market in post-WWII history and inflation at a 40-year high, both public and private sector organisations are turning to automation as the solution to fill the skills gap, improve efficiencies, and reduce operational costs. 

Automation discussions will shift from tactical problem-solving to driving business transformation and value across the enterprise. This will move automation out of the siloes and firmly onto the C-suite agenda. 

Executives will invest more in building out an enterprise-wide automation capability and integrating an automation-first mindset into their core strategies, operating models, and growth plans. This will let organisations reimagine workflows and transform customer experiences so they can deliver innovative, digital-based businesses and services. 

By elevating automation, they are also elevating its impact. A recent IDC study showed that, across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), around three in four organisations regarded automation as key to increasing productivity, efficiency and collaboration. 

Additionally, automation is key to realising environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, with 30% of Australian organisations now adopting automated solutions for ESG and sustainability reporting, and another 40% of organisations keen to automate these processes. 

Trend Two: The Rise of the Digital Workforce and Industry 5.0 

As automation changes the nature of work, workplaces will need to adapt with new roles, new skills and a new mindset. Even though many organisations are in the process of adopting Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 is already knocking on the door. 

According to the European Union, Industry 5.0 brings benefits for industry, workers and society, and will be good for the planet by favouring circular production models and supporting technologies that make the use of natural resources more efficient.  It involves adopting a human-centric approach to digital technologies that includes artificial intelligence, and upskilling and re-skilling workers in digital skills. 

This means that old roles will disappear, and new ones will take their place. Human resources will need to focus on hiring and training a new calibre of digital-friendly worker, with less focus on the transactional and repetitive, and more on delivering the greatest value from automation efforts. In fact, 77% of organisations worldwide say they will need people with critical thinking and project management capabilities, and 67% say they want more leadership and communication skills. 

Trend Three: The Digital CIO will Drive Growth 

The role of the CIO will change to become a digital leader that drives organisational growth.  

Business leaders across the enterprise are increasingly turning to the CIO to help them succeed in a digital world. Thats driven massive expansion in both the purview and the power of CIOs. Not only are their responsibilities expanding into new areas, but they are also being asked to support growth as well as operational efficiency. IDC estimates that in 2023, 60% of CIOs will be measured on how well they co-create new business models and revenue streams. They will be asked to accelerate digital transformation and that includes playing a critical role in redesigning customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). 

As digital CIOs step into the spotlight with a new mandate, automation is proving one of their most important go-to levers - hastening digital transformation, transforming CX and EX, and helping their organisations thrive in a digital world. In fact, CIO/CTOs currently drive automation initiatives in about one in four organisations in Australia. 

Trend Four: Non-technical Employees will Write Code 

Organisations of all sizes will break through artificial intelligence (AI) deployment roadblocks by adopting simplified, no-code platforms that let non-technical employees train machine learning models. 

Bringing AI into production has been historically difficult for many organisations due to factors such as the scarcity of data scientists, slow model development, and clunky deployment options. 

Enter no-code machine learning platforms, which let business users without coding or modelling experience train sophisticated models through simple drag-and-drop interfaces. This not only frees up data scientists time but also lets businesspeople quickly apply their knowledge and expertise, resulting in faster development and better-performing models.  

Many of these platforms can integrate with modern automation platforms, so, once models are developed, they can be brought quickly into automated workstreams. This lets AI flow through the enterprise to support better, faster decision-making everywhere. 

Reducing programming requirements helps speed up app and automation creation for both professional developers and citizen developers throughout the business. Across Australia, 48% of organisations already have non-IT domain employees involved in automating aspects of their work, while 42% plan to get their employees involved. To facilitate this transition, 62% of Australia organisations currently have a comprehensive training and development plan with a focus on reskilling and upskilling across teams and units. 

Successful automators are three times more likely to have adopted low-code programs and 57% of companies with citizen-led development programs say it helps with employee retention. Companies with citizen developer programs and an automation Centre of Excellence (CoE) automate 29% more processes and positively impact 39% more employees than companies with only a CoE. 

"For government and private sector organisations of the future, scalable end-to-end automation that supports Industry 5.0 and beyond will become foundational to success," says Fioretto.

"Automation is no longer a nice bolt-on to have. It has now become critical to sustaining efficient business processes that drive greater levels of productivity, scale and agility, and importantly enhance the employee and customer experience," he says. 

"Organisations that continue to view end-to-end automation as a nice to have rather than a mission critical infrastructure could be left behind in the digital economy within the next few years."