Software Automation Has Become An Essential Tool In The CIO’s Bag

Software Automation

In the last few years we have seen a surge in the number of major IT failures due to the high levels of complexity within so many in-house infrastructures. Banks have been hit particularly hard. The recent spate of glitches at the major banks has demonstrated the risk of allowing technical debt to accumulate.

The effect of IT failures goes far beyond what one might think at first, costing organisations not just millions in lost revenues but also causing significant long-term damage to, in some cases, already fragile reputations. With the advent of new devices and proliferation of communication technology, the power has shifted firmly towards the consumer – where they expect personalised services, through the channels they want. IT failures cause a lot of consumer inconvenience and can quite easily lead, in a landscape with so much competition, to them taking their business elsewhere because of this.

A Matter Of Efficiency

To attract and retain new customers, organisations are increasingly being asked to build systems that adapt and evolve to customer demands – in tandem with needing greater efficiency. The ‘cost of complexity’ combined with the fact that businesses are wanting to spend less on backend infrastructure and more on technology that helps them maximize the potential of the digital environment, are just a couple of the many reasons why automation is becoming the essential tool for CIOs. Automic research found that large companies use 85% of IT budgets for basic operations and 70% of businesses say a focus on everyday IT tasks is holding them back.

This is why businesses and corporations across every sector should be looking to automate the basics, remove risk, and generally move away from wasting too much resource on small everyday tasks instead of focusing on the bigger picture. As IT infrastructures have ever-greater influence over the operations of businesses, they face a huge challenge – a vastly increased responsibility for the well-being of the company that is exponentially greater than the resources dedicated to maintaining it.

Most banks, for example, rely on patchy and outdated in-house legacy systems. These out-of-date technologies are undermining their ability to cut costs, as resources, time and funds are focused on ensuring that technology fulfils basic tasks. According to Forbes, the largest portion of IT budgets is spent just on day-to-day operations – ensuring that simple processes and tasks are met to enable the basic running of a company. Ultimately this leaves a very small fraction of the CIO, CTO and COO’s time to drive the company forward and innovate.

Meeting Consumer Needs

Faced with rising competition and the unrelenting need to evolve their user experience to match changing customer expectations, organisations now need to innovate faster than ever before. But the question is how can resources get freed up for innovation, while keeping costs and resources lower at the same time?

Implementing integrated automation solutions would enable banks to streamline the very tasks that are holding them back – removing manual intervention and ensuring that simple tasks are handled automatically. It would enable a standardised audit trail, making sure the right people have access to the right systems and guaranteeing that financial institutions adhere to industry standards, while reducing the need for cost involved in keeping legacy IT systems running.

Before the financial crisis, the burden of legacy systems was much less of a concern for management – banks could afford the specialist staff required to extend the life cycle of their legacy systems and avoid any mishaps. Yet, with budgets tightened, this has been becoming less of a reality. With automation however, the banking industry could ensure that processes are streamlined, IT is agile and focus is shifted towards innovation and meeting constantly evolving consumer needs.

By bringing everything together and connecting loose ends, automation would enable the banking sector to deliver the much-needed cost-saving that it needs, while simultaneously freeing up resource to focus on delivering value. From recent conversations with contacts in the industry, it is clear that organisations need to move quickly to innovate and give their customers something extra, and those that don’t realise this will likely get left behind.

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Richard Muirhead, Chief Executive Officer, Automic, is an entrepreneur, bitcoin pioneer and angel investor. Richard teamed with EQT to acquire Automic in 2012, invested and joined the Board. He is co-founding managing partner of, an acceleration platform for seed-stage entrepreneurs, which has founded, advised or invested in around 40 companies. He established the Moscow office of Monitor Company. He is a governor of the We Are Family Foundation. A World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer at Davos in 2009, he has an MA in Engineering from Cambridge University and dual Australian/UK citizenship. He is married to a Norwegian and has one daughter. He wishes he rowed, swam, cycled, nordic-skied, stretched and slept more.