Automation: How Can It Affect Your Company?

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Artificial intelligence is once again a topic of great importance. It has slowly ebbed away and pushed back into public discourse for decades, especially in the context of optimizing industry. Now the question is: how will automation affect my organization and what are the trade-offs?

Automation and artificial intelligence have existed for quite a long time. Finding ways of increasing productivity has been an aim since the birth of industry itself. Only recently, however, has artificial intelligence allowed for incredible and innovative automation applications.

There are a myriad of uses of automation these days, from scheduling appointments through the use of AI to managing projects through Slack-integrated apps. Whatever area of your company you’re looking to optimize, there is an automated app that can help you reach your goals.

Often, when people think of automation, they think of machines and smart software supplanting human employees. While automation can sometimes lead to displacement, the best use of automation is as a tool to help workers perform their jobs better. Automation can be better thought of as a way to eliminate repetitive minutiae that take up unnecessary time and resources.

For example, let’s say you have a few inefficiencies when it comes to your marketing tasks. Your marketing team spends hours filling out Excel sheets with various points of data, then spends time formatting the data so that it is easily read and understood. This takes up a great deal of time with minimal return.

Upon noticing this problem, one of the team members suggests an automated app that converts various marketing metrics into a readable Excel sheet. Then, team members work to extrapolate and double check the data produced. Ultimately, this can be a much more effective use of time for your marketing team. It frees up time and resources used on tasks that are fairly unnecessary for marketing professionals. Instead, they can use their time to analyze data, find patterns, and come up with workable solutions.

This is how implementing automation can be safe and effective with minimal disruption and maximum return. While it is certain that some time will be spent choosing the correct automated application, training employees on its use, and tracking the application’s success, there is likely a long-term benefit hidden away in these short-term losses.

Equally as important is the flip side. Implementing automation without a plan can cause a negative reaction. For instance, let’s say you happen upon an a social media bot that uses artificial intelligence to post content across all of your company’s channels. You’re impressed by the claims of the bot’s creator, and decide to adopt the tech without consulting your existing social media marketing team.

Without any data previously collected on your social media marketing related to this new integration, your team is firing blind, using previous techniques to employ a new technology. A great deal of time is spent learning how to use the bot, but the generic posts it churns out prove to be ineffective, especially given your team’s unique branding efforts.

In the last example, we see that trying to fit a cool new technology without first identifying room for improvement is an exercise in futility. Ultimately, no matter how cool new tech might sound, it’s only as useful as the problem it purports to solve. That is to say, if there isn’t a problem, don’t artificially create one to solve with artificial intelligence. Just like any other tool in your arsenal, you only use it when necessary, and only if it is an appropriate fit.

Venturing into the world AI-powered applications may seem like venturing into the great unknown. Like any other technology, automation can have different effects based on implementation.

Automation is not so much an entity that lies parallel to your processes, as much as it is a tool that is completely integratable to every process. Therefore the effects of integrating automation into some facet of your company can have manifold and disparate effects, depending on a myriad of factors specific to your organization.

About the Author

Contributed by: Anthony Coggine is a HR professional turned business analyst. He has spent more than 5 years as a recruitment consultant in a variety of industries, primarily focused on consumer technology and research. 


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