The McKinsey Global Institute has spoken: ranked number two on their gallery of disruptive technologies, automation of knowledge work is predicted to drastically change business operations in the next decade.
Changing the world with automation
The media today has issued an indirect challenge: imagine the world around you completely automated, or perhaps, run by robots.
In the post-apocalyptic Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (and more familiarly, the Blade Runner movie), citizens in the wake of a nuclear war are persuaded to leave the city by being offered an android to do their bidding. The rest is a classic story of “robots gone wild,” assuming human identities and trying to work themselves back into the general population.
We’ve already seen it with the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Supply Chain Director, and other roles that have made it to boardroom status. When a function becomes important enough to an enterprise, it becomes elevated to C-level. IT underpins most of what businesses do. Supply chains are one of the few means left for a company to generate competitive advantage. But what if there was a further role, one that potentially covered every business process in the organization, one that could stimulate massive savings of time and effort, not to mention improvements in corporate reliability and responsiveness? Shouldn’t that role be represented at the top, as well? Here’s why system automation and the Chief Automation Officer could be next in line.