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Harnessing Automation For Business Growth

The rapid and unstoppable advancement in technology can have a disruptive impact on businesses. Technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics present companies with incredible opportunities for growth. 

Although our international counterparts have embraced automation with open arms, South Africa has been slow to come to the party. Automation internationally is expected to grow at around 8.9% per annum, whereas despite historic engagement in South Africa, there is an expected growth rate of 50% p.a. going forward. 


The pandemic presented a unique opportunity for South Africa to adopt digitalisation tools. A new urgency was placed on reshaping the workforce and re-envisioning business processes. 


A survey done by the World Economic Forum highlighted the adaptations that businesses planned in response to the pandemic:

  • 84% of surveyees planned to accelerate the digitalisation of work processes such as the use of digital tools and video conferencing.
  • 83% planned to provide more opportunities for remote working.
  • 50% planned to accelerate the automation of tasks.

The Covid-19 pandemic was an inciting factor to make businesses relook at the way they were operating and embrace both digitalisation and automation as tools to ‘future-proof’ their businesses. The pandemic served as a wake-up call for South African businesses to strategically implement work process automation to maintain operational efficiency and productivity.


One of the main features of digitalising work processes is an increase in productivity and efficiency. In a variety of surveys done with business and IT leaders, more than 50% are reaping the benefits of automation and noticing the significant change it has within their operations and workforce.

  1. 73% of IT leaders say that thanks to automation success, employees are saving between 10% and 50% of the time they previously spent doing manual tasks.
  2. 57% of IT leaders say that automation technology saves departments between 10% and 50% on costs previously associated with manual processing.
  3. Over half of all organisations agree that business process automation (BPA) minimises human error in the workflow.
  4. 78% of business leaders believe that automating tasks in their company increase productivity for everyone involved.

These statistics illustrate the potential that automation has for businesses in South Africa. Menial and repetitive tasks can now be automated to allow employees to focus on more important tasks that line up with the business’s goals. As the drive for productivity and efficiency within companies has always been high, automation presents the solution to optimise every department within a company in those two areas.

Digitisation and automation can provide substantial improvements to individual businesses. The need to implement digital solutions has never been higher and it is now a question of when, rather than if.

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