IT automation trends in 2022 that reveal how organizations are transforming their operations

IT automation trends

Building and maintaining automations is no longer an IT-only activity.

When analyzing the automations that 900 midsize and enterprise organizations built in our enterprise automation platform last year, we found that nearly half (47%) of all automation builders worked outside of IT.

A pie chart that breaks down the roles of automation builders

So, what’s driving this IT automation trend? And are there others worth highlighting from our data? You can read on to find the answers to both questions.

Access our Work Automation Index to see everything we found

Departments outside of IT increasingly turn to automation

Given the landscape of automation builders, it’s perhaps little surprise that many departments automate now more than ever.

When comparing year-over-year data, for example, we found that the number of organizations with 7 departments automating went up by 7 percentage points, while the number of those with only 1-2 departments automating decreased by 10 percentage points. 

A horizontal bar chart that compares the number of departments automating in 2020 versus 2021

So, why are more individuals and teams getting involved? The primary reason is that technical expertise is no longer required. A modern iPaaS like Workato offers a low-code/no-code UX, which allows builders to focus less on understanding how the platform works and more on actually building integrations and automations that can improve the way their teams operate. 

That said, we believe that there are a few other factors at play. 

  • External conditions, like the pandemic and the Great Resignation, are pushing departments to rethink how they operate and to search for innovative solutions to stay competitive—leading them to automate. 
  • Facing competing priorities and limited resources, IT isn’t well positioned to deliver on integration and automation projects quickly (or at least, not quickly enough). Business teams are, as a result, motivated to participate in the process.
  • IT is successfully educating business teams on using a platform like Workato via initiatives like an onboarding program, workshops, a resource center, etc. 

These reasons, among others, also explain why IT is no longer the function that’s automating the most (finance and accounting have officially taken the lead).

A pie chart that breaks down the proportions of departments that build automations

This trend towards a distributed delivery model, however, includes an important caveat: IT still needs to provide the governance and security controls necessary for business teams to automate safely. Otherwise, a myriad of issues can crop up, leading you to potentially violate regulations, fail to meet audit standards, and break the trust you’ve worked hard in building with employees, clients, and prospects. 

Related: How to support your citizen integrators

Nearly half of the department’s automations fall under IT service management 

When looking at IT exclusively, we found that IT service management (ITSM) makes up nearly half of the function’s automations.

Note: ITSM includes various services that IT provides on behalf of colleagues, whether it’s answering questions, providing equipment and devices, or troubleshooting and fixing equipment or applications. Though not always the case, tasks that fall under ITSM are often carried out through tickets in an application like ServiceNow or Jira. 

A pie chart that shows the relative proportion of different IT automations

ITSM automations can take a number of forms. Here are just a few examples:

  • A procurement automation can enable employees to request specific devices or access to individual applications, and the appropriate approvers can then review and approve (or reject) these requests—all without leaving your business comms platform.
  • A service desk chatbot can answer employees’ questions via a business communications platform in near real-time.

ITSM automations’ popularity comes down to a few reasons: Remote work’s proven longevity has led to a consistently high demand for home office equipment, and in an effort to keep pace, IT departments are turning to automation. Moreover, the Great Resignation has pushed employers to provide a best-in-class employee experience. And helping employees get their questions answered, requests fulfilled, and issues resolved quickly via automation can go a long way in elevating the employee experience.

Related: 18 business process automation statistics that highlight where automation is headed

A variety of IT automations have risen in popularity

IT departments clearly have an appetite for automation, as we’ve seen the sheer volume of automations more than double for all of the categories we track. 

A horizontal bar chart that shows the rate at which different IT automations have increased YoY

These categories can translate to the following automations, each of which can work in your business communications platform:

  • Alert the appropriate employees in IT in real-time when a specific issue occurs on your site so that they’re empowered to resolve the incident quickly.
  • Identify specific applications an employee no longer uses, and notify them that (as a result) they’re set to lose access to it unless they request to keep it.
  • Securely deprovision departing employees’ access to your devices and applications by the end of their last day so that they don’t have the chance to engage in harmful behavior.

IT automations clearly benefit the business in a number of ways, from time and cost savings to risk mitigation to improved employee experiences. And now that IT is also enabling business teams to automate, organizations are set to benefit even more.

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About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the Managing Editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer (er...football) matches, and explore local restaurants.