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5 Automation Trends to Watch in 2024

Roland Alston, Appian
March 14, 2024

The latest automation trends are paving the way for what Gartner defines as "hyperautomation"—the philosophy that everything that can and should be automated will eventually be automated. However, many businesses seeking to harness the latest automation technology don’t know where to start. This blog highlights five timely trends in automation that should be on your digital transformation roadmap in 2024.

5 automation trends to watch in 2024.

1. Multimodal AI unlocks innovation.

When an AI chatbot can understand not just written words but also images, we call it "multimodal" AI. This cutting-edge technology opens up a whole new range of human-machine interaction. Take OpenAI's latest brainchild, GPT-4V, for example. Unlike its predecessors, this powerful large language model reads and responds to questions about images, redefining how we interact with AI. 

Learn about other types of AI, including generative AI vs. AI.

Now that we've explored how multimodal AI models are revolutionizing automation, let's delve into another transformative automation trend.

2. AI-powered chatbots revolutionize user and customer experience.

AI-powered chatbots are revolutionizing customer experience. This is a transformational automation industry trend to watch in 2024. These advanced chatbots are revolutionizing user engagement with their intelligence, versatility, and scalability. Businesses that embrace this trend will unlock new opportunities for efficiency, innovation, and customer-centricity in the digital age.

How? AI-powered chatbots are  leveraging AI and natural language processing capabilities to deliver seamless, personalized, and human-like user interactions.

These digital workers continuously learn and improve through machine learning (ML) algorithms, enabling them to:

  • Analyze vast datasets of conversations.

  • Identify patterns.

  • Adapt their responses in real time to provide more accurate and relevant assistance to users. 

As a result, companies can offer responsiveness and efficiency that surpasses traditional rule-based systems and delivers next-level customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For instance, through advanced language understanding and context awareness, AI-powered chatbots interpret customer sentiment and anticipate customer needs. Whether it's troubleshooting technical issues, providing product recommendations, or facilitating transactions, AI-powered chatbots streamline and reduce friction in customer interactions.

Users interact with company data using Appian’s data fabric chat component.


Furthermore, these chatbots are evolving beyond mere transactional interactions to become valuable sources of insight and analytics, empowering organizations to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and tailor their offerings to meet evolving customer needs effectively.

But as AI-powered chatbots become more prevalent, ensuring ethical and responsible use of the technology is paramount. Additionally, designing chatbots with inclusivity and accessibility in mind ensures that all users can benefit from this innovative trend, regardless of their background or abilities.

Let's shift our focus to how automation is reshaping supply chain management.

3. Automation transforms supply chain management.

In 2024, the integration of automation technologies is revolutionizing every facet of supply chain management, ushering in unprecedented levels of efficiency, agility, and responsiveness. From warehouse operations to inventory tracking and demand forecasting, automation is reshaping traditional practices and redefining the dynamics of global logistics.

In inventory tracking, advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) powered by AI and ML algorithms optimize inventory placement, route planning, and resource allocation to maximize operational efficiency. Automation solutions, including RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging, barcode scanning, and computer vision, are revolutionizing inventory tracking and management.

Real-time tracking technologies provide granular visibility into inventory movements, enabling businesses to monitor stock levels, identify discrepancies, and prevent understocking or overstocking. Furthermore, AI-driven analytics and predictive algorithms analyze historical data and market trends to optimize inventory levels, minimize carrying costs, and improve inventory turnover ratios.

Automation is also transforming demand forecasting from reactive to proactive by leveraging advanced analytics, AI, and ML. These technologies analyze vast datasets, including historical sales data, market trends, weather patterns, and social media signals, to generate accurate demand forecasts with unprecedented precision. By anticipating shifts in consumer behavior and market dynamics, businesses can optimize production schedules and mitigate the risks of excess inventory and stock shortages.

Learn how to boost supply chain resilience. Get the eBook: Bringing Clarity to Supply Chain Chaos. 

Turning our attention to another hot trend in the automation landscape, demand for cloud computing is picking up steam because of its scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency.

4. Demand for cloud-native platforms soars.

Embracing cloud computing is no longer just an option for businesses; it's necessary to remain competitive in the digital age. Businesses will increasingly rely on cloud services to maintain their edge in the market. Here’s the math. According to Gartner, investment in public cloud services is expected to reach $679 billion by 2024 and is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2027.

The soaring demand for cloud-native platforms reflects a strategic imperative for companies to harness the power of automation to drive efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness in 2024 and beyond.

Cloud-native platforms are centralized hubs for automation, enabling businesses to integrate diverse tools and technologies into seamless workflows. These platforms offer a unified environment where teams can easily collaborate, experiment, and deploy automation solutions. Whether robotic process automation (RPA), AI, ML, or Internet of Things (IoT) applications, cloud-native platforms provide the infrastructure and tools to orchestrate complex automation workflows efficiently.

By embracing these unified cloud platforms, market leaders are accelerating their digital transformation initiatives, unlocking new growth opportunities, and positioning their organizations to thrive in an increasingly dynamic and competitive business landscape.

Having highlighted the strategic imperative for businesses to embrace cloud-native platforms for automation, let's shift focus to another significant development: the rise of automated decision-making systems.

5. Automated decision-making gains new ground.

Adoption of automated decision-making has rapidly expanded beyond traditional sectors like manufacturing and logistics, making significant inroads into critical domains such as healthcare, finance, and criminal justice. This automation industry trend underscores a fundamental shift towards leveraging advanced automation technologies, including AI,  ML, and predictive analytics, to drive new efficiencies and innovations across various industries.

In healthcare, automation augments the clinical decision-making processes, enhances patient care delivery, and optimizes resource allocation. This trend involves leveraging AI and ML algorithms to analyze patient data, medical images, genomic sequences, and real-time monitoring data to diagnose diseases, predict treatment outcomes, and personalize patient care. By automating routine tasks and providing actionable insights, these systems empower healthcare professionals to make faster, more informed decisions, improve patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs.

Similarly, in finance, automated systems are reshaping core operations such as risk assessment, fraud detection, and investment management. AI-powered algorithms analyze vast datasets of financial transactions, market trends, and customer behavior to identify patterns, detect anomalies, and optimize investment strategies.

These systems enable financial institutions to enhance risk management, streamline compliance processes, and deliver personalized financial services to customers. However, concerns about algorithmic biases, regulatory compliance, and data privacy pose significant challenges that require careful consideration and oversight.

Automation is increasingly utilized in the criminal justice system for risk assessment, sentencing, and parole decisions. These digital systems analyze historical crime data, offender profiles, and demographic factors to predict recidivism rates and inform judicial decisions. Proponents argue these systems improve consistency and fairness in sentencing, but critics raise concerns about biases, transparency, and due process rights.

 Learn how to shape successful process automation strategies. Get the Process Automation Guide.

What can automation trends teach us about surviving and thriving in the age of acceleration? As technology evolves at warp speed, how should companies and institutions retool for a rapidly changing digital economy? The answer may not be all that obvious, and that’s the point. But these automation trends can help you see the direction things are going.

From the rise of multimodal AI models and cloud-powered platforms to the transformative impact of AI-powered chatbots and automated decision-making systems, harnessing cutting-edge automation is essential to business success in the age of acceleration.

What’s next on your automation roadmap? For more insights, check out the Gartner Gartner® Emerging Tech Impact Radar: Hyperautomation.