When it comes to automation, the world has changed. Despite significant benefits of automation that have been proven over the past several years, 2023 will see a slight dampening of automation velocity. Economic uncertainty is driving a more rational approach that taps the breaks on transformation to focus on core business drivers such as resilience and efficiency. Efforts will pay off for those with the mettle to adjust to 2023 realities but also double down on automation to reap competitive advantage. Here is a sample of what a diverse group of our analysts see in the coming year:

  • Data-driven automation will be hot. Most automation tackles static processes, but data insights are changing that. One-third of enterprises will prioritize data-driven automation, with data events from IoT or state changes in ML applications driving next-gen business process transformation. This recognition is sending ripples through process automation markets.
  • Skill shortages will slow automation progress. 2023 will see slower progress in rolling out new automation support. The big issue is a lack of needed skills. These include a slower ramp for business developers to succeed with low-code development tools, skill gaps for professional developers across the AI spectrum, and a shortage of trained analysts and project managers for automation projects. Skills shortages are perpetual, but 2023 will be unusually difficult.
  • Twenty-five percent of automation CoEs will reorganize to support federated development. Centers of excellence (CoEs) gained prominence in the 2019 time frame, particularly with the surge in intelligent automation and robotic process automation. A central view helped scale automations, share and develop skills, and govern deployments. But things change, and in 2023, a number of CoEs will migrate execution tasks such as training and implementation to the primary business lines that they support. Security review, automation architecture, and guardrail governance, the more strategic functions, will remain in automation COEs. Low-code software improvements and the desire to federate to achieve scale will drive this shift.

And by the way, don’t be surprised if you get a text from a robot that your order has been delivered. Labor shortages are forcing organizations to pursue robot workers to help their business function. No surprise, physical robotics is on the rise. Food service, janitorial services, commercial and home delivery, healthcare, and manufacturing will all benefit from autonomous mobile robots, collaborative robots, robot security guards, and drones for inspection.

All in all, 2023 looks to be an exciting year for automation. Read our full 2023 automation and robotics Predictions report to get more detail about each of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions. Set up a Forrester guidance session to discuss these predictions or plan out your 2023 automation strategy.

If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2023. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2023 hub.