Common misconceptions about automation and what the real benefits are
There are many potential benefits to adopting automation, and this is something that businesses are recognising in growing numbers, with McKinsey reporting that 83% of key IT decision makers believe that workflow automation is essential for them to achieve their digital transformation goals.
However, organisations often approach automation based on a series of misconceptions about what the technology will deliver for them in real terms, viewing it as a ‘panacea’ to fix all their problems.
The reality is that automation will not transform things overnight – implementing the technology can often be a slow and methodical process, albeit one that has the potential to be hugely rewarding in the long run. Therefore, it is vital for businesses to have realistic expectations of what automation can achieve and what they can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
To be clear, automation can be highly effective in certain areas, but you should never take a blanket approach to adopting it across your business. In fact, there are a number of specific processes that should never be automated, especially when it comes to optimising customer experience.
Various aspects of customer service are of low value to businesses, and are therefore ripe for automation as a means of freeing up time and resources to be reallocated to other, more worthwhile areas.
Despite this, there are stages of the customer journey where a human touch can be irreplaceable. These include instances where the problem a customer is facing may have evoked an acute emotional response from them, and the ability to speak to a human advisor in such a scenario could be hugely comforting and rewarding.
Companies, therefore, should be very wary of automating those areas of their operations where human engagement can offer the most value, and focus instead on automating those parts that tend to be more mundane and offer little tangible value.
Another assumption that needs to be combatted is that automation adoption is as simple as implementing the technology alongside an organisation’s existing practices and processes, but this is simply not true.
In order for automation to be as effective as they hope, business leaders need to ensure that there is cultural acceptance of the technology across the company, which means dispelling any misconceptions among staff that digital solutions are designed to make their roles redundant.
This also involves educating staff about automation and explaining what benefits it will bring not only to the business as a whole, but also to individual’s day-to-day duties. By doing so, business leaders can build trust in the technology that they are introducing, and ensure that a company-wide approach to adoption is taken.
Further to this, it is important for organisations to have those individuals among their ranks who intrinsically understand technology and the benefits that it can deliver.
Embracing automation is a significant step for any business to take, and as such it is a decision that needs to be given an appropriate level of thought before diving in.
Business leaders must first consider what it is that they hope to achieve by adopting the technology, and understand what the reality of what it can actually achieve for them is.
Automation should not be treated as a single solution to driving efficiencies and productivity – it needs to be carefully and strategically implemented into existing business operations to have the greatest level of impact, and not just the areas that are the easiest to automate.