With many businesses turning their attention to cloud-based strategies, new figures now suggest the public cloud service market alone is expected to reach a whopping $331 billion by 2021. With IT budgets now reserved for cloud-based offerings, and business workflows adapting to suit this new model, traditional processes are evolving to enable growth and innovation through digital transformation.
Workloads are now becoming fully digitalised, and with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it now seems only a matter of time until some of the corresponding jobs, particularly those involving repetitive tasks, start to come under threat. Research by Forrester now predicts automation technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning will replace 7% (or 22.7 million) jobs in the United States alone.
Even cloud computing itself is becoming orchestrated to achieve faster and more efficient functioning through automation tools. In this blog post, we will explore cloud automation, how it can help improve day-to-day business productivity, and what we can expect from future solutions offering automation as a cloud-based service.
Cloud services enable the use of automation; the creation of technology in order to control and monitor production, operation or delivery processes. This shouldn’t be confused with cloud automation, which is a term that applies specifically to the tools used to reduce the manual processes that accompany managing a cloud environment.
When completed manually, deploying and operating workloads in the cloud can be time-consuming and repetitive – provisioning and configuring resources for example, or the overall monitoring and management of the platform’s availability and performance. Although manually performing these tasks is effective, it can also be inefficient and leave room for errors to be made, which in itself can lead to security vulnerabilities and other issues.
In fact, 59% of all unplanned downtime and service outages are caused by human errors and misconfigurations. Replacing manual cloud deployment and management with automated tools removes the possibility of human error, in theory improving workflows and allowing IT staff to be used more efficiently, all of which can save time, money and improve cloud functionality.
In the same way that cloud automation can benefit cloud functionality, a correctly configured automation platform can remove onerous industry tasks and remove human errors. This should ensure quality and consistency, and in turn improve business efficiency and save money. Switching to automated processes also frees up employees to refocus on completing other business objectives that necessitate human control and input.
Many different industries can benefit from implementing business process automation. Automation streamlines processes, which not only encourages faster turnarounds, but can also lead to better workflow visibility and insights. Through these records, businesses can use this information to demonstrate compliance and complete audits.
Adopting automated techniques may require internal organisational changes; specifically, in the way teams collaborate, as well as the specific skills and responsibilities of employees. Robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning will all need orchestrating. Of course, for all these benefits, there’s also the inevitability that automation may lead to job losses. A survey found that 23% of workers think their current job won’t be needed in the future.
Certain industries will be affected by automation more than others; no doubt manufacturing will continue to see huge changes in production lines, but also data-based and information processing jobs, such as accountancy and financial services. However, as is often the case with technological advancements, as old jobs become irrelevant, new ones are created to take their place.
A report by cybersecurity solutions specialists McAfee has found that 87% of companies experience business acceleration through the use of cloud services. It comes as no surprise then, that spend on cloud services is increasing, with Software as a Service (SaaS) products now used by a whopping 89% of businesses, and SaaS revenue estimated to reach $85 billion by the end of this year.
Significant growth can be reported across all cloud-based services. Although SaaS remains the largest cloud service, spending on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is also picking up speed, with an annual growth rate of 33.7%, followed closely by Platform as a Service (PaaS) with 29.8%. If you would like an in-depth breakdown of ‘as a service’ cloud solutions, check out our previous blog post, here.
Enterprise grade automation can now be provided through the cloud as a service, enabling end users to purchase fully managed solutions via their cloud platform. This is fuelled largely through the increasing demand for automation, as well as the accessibility of cloud-based applications and rise of AI and IoT. Despite being a relatively new industry, Automation as a Service (AaaS) is projected to reach $10,914.9 million by 2023.
As mundane tasks are eliminated or reassigned, it’s important to see this as simply an improvement to the way we operate, and not a surrender to automated processes. The need for manual human input won’t necessarily be lost, but the specific tasks will change. As future technologies shape business processes the demand for automation solutions and controls are expected to rapidly increase. Automation can deliver faster, more efficient results that have the power to improve efficiencies and our work environments.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post on automation. For more cloud and tech-based insights, head back to the blog.
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Matthew is Secura's content specialist, producing gripping, emotionally complex, edge of your seat, cloud hosting articles and videos.
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