The digital business era is maturing in a fast-paced technological change environment where organizations are constantly looking for ways to innovate and stay ahead, taking advantage of emerging opportunities to grow. According to some business analysts, 39% of senior executives believe their companies will only be economically viable if they change their operating models in a decade. And 69% of executives believe that their operating model cannot adapt continuously to the changes required by the market and the economic environment.
In this context, autonomous operations can be the next step to driving sustainable growth and competitive advantage. This revolutionary concept is about how companies transform their operating models by leveraging responsible automation, new digital operational models, and emerging technologies, resulting in highly disruptive operations focused on sustainable business value. In this way, they transform how organizations operate and adapt in the digital age, automating their end-to-end processes.
The new paradigm
More than just optimizing existing processes, autonomous operations mean taking the company's capabilities to a new level by allowing systems to make informed decisions. But these operations should be carried out ethically and sustainably, leveraging responsible automation in business processes.
Leader organizations in their industries continue moving their growth curve, and autonomous businesses characterize this post-digital business period. The term "autonomous business," coined by Gartner, defines the next macro wave of change in the industry, which has been gaining momentum since 2020 and will accelerate during this decade.
As it is a wave that is just beginning, the contours of this paradigm are just emerging and taking shape, and there will be changes in the future. It is a trend that also intersects with others that change the business paradigm, such as environmental sustainability and re-globalization. By definition, we are talking about an organization partly governed and operated mainly by software agents that learn and provide intelligent services and products.
Adopting autonomous operations allows for greater efficiency by reducing errors and decreasing response times. At the same time, it will enable companies to quickly respond accurately to the changing needs of different markets, contributing to a more satisfactory and personalized customer experience.
In addition, the continuous innovation that companies approach from this approach provides them with better preparation to face disruptions and unexpected challenges, promoting greater business resilience, which increases the ability to maintain business continuity.
Challenges and considerations
Although autonomous operations promise significant benefits, they present critical. Data security and privacy are crucial issues that must be regulated, as autonomous decisions are based on a large amount of sensitive information.
Another critical challenge will be the integration of this automation into the organizational culture. Training staff to work alongside intelligent systems is a key factor for successful adoption, as, although there will always be human leadership and responsibility, a significant part of the management and decision-making activities will be automated. For example, an intelligent machine may operate as a digital counselor on compliance issues.
The autonomous future in organizations
As technologies advance and organizations adopt a more automation-focused approach, autonomous operations will become a distinguishing feature of businesses. It is important to note that the evolution of autonomous organizations will not be dehumanizing because it can only continue to grow if talent is continuously developed and elevated.
Today, very few companies work 100% in this way. Those who are approaching are, for example, AI-powered investment management companies, where algorithms do the work. And while most organizations in almost all industries are unlikely to cross this threshold in a decade or more, the gradual transition to this will be the most remarkable technological transformation of the business that customers, companies, and markets have ever faced.
Autonomous businesses are the next generation of digital businesses, which focus mainly on product reinvention (such as financial advisor robots or vapes instead of cigarettes). The digital business phase, in turn, came after the e-business phase. Autonomous operations do not replace the previous stages, which will continue to grow and add value. It is even possible that in the future, the next phase will be that of "metaverse businesses," blurring the boundaries between people and machine.
Leading the way
In conclusion, autonomous operations represent an exciting opportunity for organizations to reach a new level of efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness. The key to success lies in a planned and carefully managed implementation based on a synergistic relationship with human intelligence and experience.
Those organizations that quickly adopt and adapt their operating models to embrace this evolution will be better positioned in their respective sectors to take advantage of long-term strategic growth, leading the way toward a more autonomous and successful future.