Leslie Joseph, Principal Analyst

Show notes:

In today’s enterprise, it’s common for various automation technologies to reside in silos around the organization based on their application or business need. This creates disparate islands of automation that may not align to — or even conflict with — the company’s broader automation strategy. Someone needs to coordinate and connect all of these distinct initiatives into a strategic “fabric.”

That someone is a chief automation officer, says Principal Analyst Leslie Joseph. While the number of automation architects grows internally in lockstep with the number of automation projects, there’s a need for a C-level role to oversee the work and provide strategic guidance about how and why the business is investing in and deploying automation technologies.

Who’s leading automation efforts today in most organizations? Joseph walks through four “archetypes” that typically head up automation efforts and calls out the disadvantages of each one. In the rare cases today where there is someone overseeing automation in an organization, the role usually reports to the chief operating officer or, in some cases, the chief digital officer.

But finding and hiring an experienced chief automation officer is difficult because the role doesn’t exist in most organizations. To help firms looking to hire one, Joseph identifies the six key skills or qualities that a chief automation officer needs to be truly successful. In this way, he draws a comparison between the current state of automation in the enterprise to the early days of digital business, where experienced leaders weren’t easy to find because the function was new. Instead of looking for an experienced chief automation officer, organizations should focus on finding the person with the right skill sets.

What’s the future for chief automation officers? Stick around to the end of the episode, where Joseph makes a bold prediction on how many Fortune 500 firms will have a chief automation officer in the next three years.

If you found this episode interesting, be sure to check out the agenda for our upcoming Technology & Innovation APAC event happening live on November 15 to 16 in Sydney and virtually.