The strategic impacts of Intelligent Automation for knowledge and service work: An interdisciplinary review

Crispin Coombs, Donald Hislop, Stanimira K. Taneva, Sarah Barnard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


A significant recent technological development concerns the automation of knowledge and service work as a result of advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its sub-fields. We use the term Intelligent Automation to describe this phenomenon. This development presents organisations with a new strategic opportunity to increase business value. However, academic research contributions that examine these developments are spread across a wide range of scholarly disciplines resulting in a lack of consensus regarding key findings and implications. We conduct the first interdisciplinary literature review that systematically characterises the intellectual state and development of Intelligent Automation technologies in the knowledge and service sectors. Based on this review, we provide three significant contributions. First, we conceptualise Intelligent Automation and its associated technologies. Second, we provide a business value-based model of Intelligent Automation for knowledge and service work and identify twelve research gaps that hinder a complete understanding of the business value realisation process. Third, we provide a research agenda to address these gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101600
Number of pages30
JournalThe Journal of Strategic Information Systems
Issue number4
Early online date9 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank Professor Jarvenpaa and the review team for all the constructive comments and suggestions that were most helpful in revising the paper and in offering a stronger contribution. We would also like to thank Professor Guy Fitzgerald for his constructive comments on earlier versions of the paper.

This study was funded by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the CIPD.


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • Business value
  • Computerisation
  • Machine learning
  • Mobile robotics


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