KPMG CIO survey reveals possible impact of automation on UAE workforce

One-third of CIOs surveyed in UAE in the Harvey Nash KPMG CIO Survey, believe 20% or more of their workforce will be automated in the next five years. While there have been many reports anticipating the long-term impact of artificial intelligence and automation of the workforce, few include input from technology leaders who are responsible for putting these systems in place. This year’s Harvey Nash KPMG CIO Survey provides insight into various areas of interest.

This includes the fact that one-third of CIOs surveyed believe 20% or more of their workforce will be automated in the next five years. “Those organisations not investing in artificial intelligence and automation may, over time, see their cost base become relatively higher than their artificial intelligence-investing competitors,” mentioned Farhan Syed, Partner, Digital and Innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf, during the course of Gitex 2019.

According to the Harvey Nash KPMG CIO Survey, UAE-based CIOs tend to perceive their own organisations as more effective than their global counterparts across a range of digital capabilities— particularly in cyber security. UAE-based organisations are more focused on leveraging digital innovations to increase operational efficiencies and enhance the customer experience than their global counterparts.

IT projects which deliver sufficient and sustainable operational cost reduction get better buy-in from the UAE CEO’s compared to their global counterparts who are more attracted to projects that help increase revenue. This may indicate that while IT drives business model transformation in other markets, IT is more focused on enterprise model transformation in the UAE in order to drive efficiency, whilst serving a challenging and evolving customer base.

The ability to respond to this challenge requires an agile and innovative organisational culture, which is only possible when people, processes, and technology are aligned across the front, middle and back office. This is not an easy task for organisations with long standing analogue legacies, but plays to the UAE’s strengths and national commitment to innovation and digitalisation.

Farhan Syed, Partner, Digital and Innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf.