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K2, a leader in intelligent process automation, has published the results of a recent Harris Poll survey, ‘Accelerating Automation: How Businesses are Adapting to a Post-COVID World’. The survey reveals how business leaders are adapting to COVID-19, how they are preparing for the future, and the value of automation technology to meet customer expectations. 

According to the survey results, 92 percent of business leaders agree that to survive and flourish, companies must enable digital channels and process automation in the workplace. Across industries and countries, it is clear that process automation and digitization are viewed as critical to long-term organizational success. However, it is equally apparent that achieving the desired end state is no easy task. 86 percent of businesses say they face one or more key barriers to process automation. The complexity of process automation is the top challenge. However, limited budgets are also a common roadblock.

The impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has ‘shaken most businesses to their core’ – forcing a complete departure from the status quo. Businesses are prioritizing the development of new, automated processes to address COVID-19 realities, but only 7 percent are prepared to deal with the breadth of issues COVID-19 brings. The survey also found that:

  • 80 percent of businesses are facing new challenges related to COVID-19
  • 60 percent need to develop new processes to address COVID realities
  • 59 percent are having challenges maintaining operational efficiencies in a distributed environment and enabling remote employees.

The disconnect between C-Suite and their directs
C-level executives and their teams agree on the top COVID-driven priorities but disagree in many cases about how prepared companies are to actually address new process needs. For example, 53 percent of C-level execs believe their companies are very prepared for outbreak response planning versus only 40 percent of lower-level leaders. A similar disconnect is seen for many other COVID needs, such as safety equipment and resource tracking, employee self-screening and visitor screening.

Automation is key to customer satisfaction

36 percent of companies across regions are having difficulty meeting customer satisfaction goals. Nearly all of those companies (92 percent) acknowledge that effective use of process automation and digital transformational is key to addressing this aspect of their business.


This research was conducted online in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany by The Harris Poll from May 22nd – May 30th 2020 among Business Leaders (VP, SVP or C-level roles) within organizations of 250+ employees and who have decision making authority as it relates to automating business processes.

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