JUNE 2020

Preparing Your Firm For The Future Of Work

A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by IBM



Executive Summary

Successful companies have a future-of-work (FOW) view that accounts for the forces of advancing automation — scale, control, and convergence. A successful FOW view will use automation to build strategies aimed at reducing risk from global disruptions, including pandemics, climate change, and trade wars. Resiliency, the ability to recover quickly from disruptive change, is now a front-page headline. And the main topics of today’s resiliency story are business continuity, work distribution, cloud migration, and cost efficiency.

Companies that understand how automation will change their business, and build the structure, processes and culture to help their entire workforce navigate both gradual and unexpected changes, will be more successful. Companies that prepare for the impact intelligent automation has on the future of work not only have more successful automation programs, but experience a broad set of business benefits..

It is critical that firms begin to plan for the future of work, applying intelligent automation to support both their business and their workforce as a result of global disruptions. Forrester has created a readiness model that has found that those firms with high-readiness scores are at a competitive advantage both now and in the future.

Companies that prepare for the impact intelligent automation has on the future of work not only have more successful automation programs, but experience a broad set of business benefits.

IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate how firms are preparing for intelligent automation adoption and its effects on the workforce. This resulted in a collection of three reports, which summarize the research based on studies of over 700 respondents. These reports can be viewed as a whole or individually. The first report, “Reinventing Workflows,” emphasizes the role of process and workflow modernization in digital transformation. The second report, “How Intelligent Automation Will Shape The Workforce Of Tomorrow,” describes the timing and issues of automation-led transformation. The third report, “Preparing Your Firm For The Future Of Work,” makes the research of the first two reports actionable. Reports 2 and 3 are based on a January 2020 Forrester online survey with 269 IT and business decision makers that have executed and are responsible for automation and AI initiatives at global organizations. Based on the breadth of technologies they have adopted, these organizations consider themselves automation leaders.

Key Findings

Preparing Your Firm For the Future Of Work

In the second paper of this series, “How Intelligent Automation Will Shape The Workforce Of Tomorrow,” we describe how the forces of automation are transforming the workforce. Survey respondents already feel the effects of automation on their workforce today, with the technology refresh cycle bringing job transformation faster than annually. This, coupled with a quickly changing economic landscape and shifting priorities for automation programs, means that all firms need to start transforming their organizational structure and culture now, in order to be adequately prepared for the impact intelligent automation will have on the workforce.

To better understand how firms are preparing for the future of work, and how best practices for automation and human-machine collaboration can affect the organization, we created a future of work readiness model. This model is based on 17 practices and capabilities implemented today in three categories, scored on a 5-point scale:

  • Workforce preparation and change management.

  • Engagement and attitudes.

  • Adoption and technology.

Using the model, Forrester fielded a survey to determine how organizations are preparing for the future of work. We surveyed operational executives who are already undertaking automation programs of significant technological scope and can therefore be viewed as leaders in this space. We assessed respondents against our readiness model and looked at the different responses of those who scored in the bottom (low readiness), middle (intermediate readiness) and top-third (high readiness) of our model.

Analyzing the differences between our high- and low-scoring respondents can give insights into best practices, key challenges, and priorities for firms preparing for intelligent automation and the future of work.

All firms need to start transforming their organizational structure and culture now to be adequately prepared for the impact of automation on the workforce.

How ready is your firm today for the future of work and intelligent automation? Register with IBM to take the assessment to receive:

  • Custom recommendations on how your firm can prepare for the future of human/machine collaboration and put your workers in a position to succeed.

  • An estimation of how much future of work readiness can benefit your organization based on your peers.

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This study was conducted by Forrester’s Custom Content Consulting Practice. Get in touch to discuss your custom content needs and goals. Learn more about all of Forrester's consulting capabilities.

A Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned by IBM