An IDC-led survey of 800 global executives commissioned by UiPath found that 54% of organisations are already using enterprise automation technologies to help implement sustainability initiatives, and another 24% plan to do so in the coming two years.
The IDC study also shows that organisations which have established intelligent automation practices are also more mature in terms of their sustainability efforts.
Sustainability—viewed by IDC through a triple-bottom-line lens of maximizing benefits to, and minimizing negative impacts on, the economy, society, and the environment—is a leading priority for organisations. Yet significant cost and complexity challenges make progress difficult.
“Sustainability is a major strategic priority for businesses, and organisations the world over are moving quickly to define sustainability goals and incentives. However, when it comes to operationalising sustainability initiatives, there are significant business and technology challenges that make progress difficult," said Neil Ward-Dutton, vice president of automation, analytics, and AI at IDC Europe.
"With automation's ability to increase an organisation's agility, efficiency and speed to value, enterprise automation platforms and practices can help address many of these challenges and have strong roles to play in unlocking the potential of sustainability initiatives."Neil Ward-Dutton
“Automation fills an organisation’s operational gaps and makes sustainability initiatives actionable at a time where sustainability is a leadership and management priority,” said Rob Enslin, co-CEO at UiPath. “Every organisation has a responsibility to be a responsible corporate citizen for its community, its employees, and the environment. The insights are relevant for all businesses."
"Enterprise automation is ideal for unlocking the potential of sustainability initiatives across the organisation and for overcoming technical barriers.”Rob Enslin
The survey reveals:
Sustainability investments are a major priority, but present challenges
Global executives noted that the top drivers for their sustainability initiatives were operational efficiencies and cost savings (40%), and enhanced brand value and trust (33%). Additionally, 68% said that they have a board member specifically responsible for sustainability.
Regarding sustainability program priorities, more than one-third of respondents highlighted the importance of IT efficiency. About 28% indicated responsible sourcing as their main concern, and 27% reported that both overall energy efficiency and employee well-being, health, and safety were top of mind.
However, 35% of respondents indicated that dispersed/siloed resources were the main organisational challenges they faced when attempting to become more sustainable, followed by difficulty identifying appropriate KPIs (33%) and a lack of operational technology (32%).
Automation for sustainability offers substantial benefits
To introduce and manage sustainability initiatives, organisations are leveraging automation to drive agility and ensure the quality of information and measurement. Organisations are using automation to extract data more easily from human-readable documents and to source data quickly. Another top automation use case for sustainability is process improvement (45%).
When weighing the benefits automation could bring to their organisations in the future, more than half of all executives indicated the value of enabling workers to do more meaningful work and increasing employee satisfaction as the top potential advantage.
Other potential benefits included more easily sourcing data (55%); the ability to develop new value propositions, products, and services (53%); and easier understanding of operational performance and improvement areas (52%).