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The business case for AI and Automation? Realising the Full Potential and Tangible Value of Staff Liberated by Automation

From automation as cost saving only to (overlooked) additional benefits for freed time

Many organisations pursue automation initiatives with the promise from vendors and specialised authors of freeing employees’ time from repetitive tasks for more impactful work aligned with strategy.  However, genuinely achieving and maximising the benefits of that reclaimed bandwidth requires evaluating several elements often initially overlooked.

Allocating Staff to Strategic Priorities Personnel capacity freed up through automation, AI, and robotics cannot be harnessed for more significant goals without determining the suitable strategic activities warranting that investment.

These would vary based on the department:

  • Sales: Building customer relationships, increasing account value, and forging partnerships.

  • Marketing: Improving campaign effectiveness through analytics, personalisation, and new channel cultivation.

  • Customer  Service: Enhancing customer experience via journey mapping, predictive care, and loyalty building.

  • Finance: Conducting forecast modelling, cost reduction analysis, and performance benchmarking

  • HR: Strengthening recruiting pipelines, developing skills programs, and shaping culture initiatives

  • R&D: Exploring ideas for new offerings and intellectual property, expanding products into new markets


Assessing Obstacles to Implementation:

While those high-level areas may indicate priorities for utilising newly available staff time, executing them involves evaluating potential barriers. Obtaining leadership endorsement, data access, motivation building, isolation breaking, and specialised skills development are all common challenges that could obstruct deploying teams against the identified strategic goals regardless of available hours.

Understanding that AI Assistance Potentials Automation have assistance potential in overcoming some of those strategic initiative obstacles:

  • Predictive analytics can generate data insights that are otherwise manually limited.

  • Language processing can expand the research scope, and conversational interfaces can ease customer engagement.

We take it for granted that humans still drive vision, interpretation, and relationships.

Connecting Efforts to Business Benefits

Organisations pursuing automation and digitisation projects justify them through cost savings from replacing repetitive manual work. However, tasks reallocation of staff for innovation, customer insight, and other intelligence building should aim to create tangible value in enhanced revenue, profitability, and competitiveness:

New product pipelines, retention improvements, and expanded partnerships can be measured in monetary terms - not just theoretical strategy fulfilment. Models should forecast realistic upside.

Overcoming Systemic Resource Allocation Biases

Beyond building cases, organisations exhibit natural biases favouring short-term visible demands over longer-term investment priorities that are more easily deferred. However, some perpetual allocation mechanisms can counteract. Dedicated staff quotas, recurring executive reviews, and guaranteed funding for strategic growth initiatives maintained over fiscal year changes impose consistency that organisation inertia can otherwise threaten.

Fulfilling the promised potential of automation and AI to elevate human roles requires avoiding the pitfalls of underinvesting freed capacity into strategic building priorities that often demand overcoming structural challenges and biases through targeted analysis and mechanisms.

With the right insights and purposeful commitment, substantial gains remain achievable from newfound staff availability.

An Idea...

Leaders must get the details on the measurable business case when shifting staff capacity after automation. What are the exact added revenue amounts, sales growth and retention percentages possible from initiatives like improved targeting, customer insights and upskilling?

As you decide where to reapply people freed up by automating, I believe you can build credible business cases - realistic forecasts for gains across all units after investments into expanded capabilities. We can estimate likely productivity, pipeline growth, and revenue increase amounts based on your goals and data assets.

A Key Message

Getting concrete and specific on the complete business case tied to staff reallocation and capability elevation unlocks automation’s total value. By quantifying likely financial returns in a collaborative data-driven framework, you can de-risk executing your talent and technology strategy for maximum benefits.


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