Addressing Common Misconceptions About Process Automation

Process automation has become a buzzword in the business world, with organizations of all sizes looking to automate their processes to improve efficiency and productivity. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about process automation that can derail its adoption and implementation. I know this blog is super cliché, but it is still common in today’s market, so today I wanted to address some of those misconceptions I have heard through the years.

Automation leads to job displacement

One of the most common misconceptions that I have heard about adopting process automation is that it will lead to job displacement. While it is true that some jobs may become redundant, process automation can also create new job opportunities. As someone who has been in the automation space for almost 10 years now, I can honestly say that this something that the end-users feel when they do not understand the tools they have. Once I learned more about automation and what it is capable of, I started looking at everything very differently.

Automation can free up employees from repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on the more strategic and creative work. This helps drive employees as they will find deeper satisfaction and value from the work. Moreover, automation can help organizations to scale their operations, which can lead to increased job opportunities. I know that I try to automate as much of my day-to-day so that I can focus on the things I want to. Having 5 kids helped push with my own personal and professional life; I automate as much as I can!

Automation is only for large organizations

Another common misconception about process automation is that it is only suitable for larger organizations. I would argue that process automation can help organizations of all sizes. For example, small businesses could automate many of their processes to reduce the amount of manual work done. Not only would this streamline their processes, but also reduce errors and improve overall satisfaction since they can focus more on what they deliver to their customers.

Automation can help organizations stay competitive especially as the market changes. In fact, according to survey results published by Zapier in 2021, 88% of Small Medium Businesses (SMB) say that automation allows for their company to compete with larger organizations. Automation solutions are becoming increasingly user-friendly and easy to use, making it easier for organizations of all skills and sizes to adopt automation to help scale their operations without increasing their workforce.

Automation is complex, difficult to manage, and expensive

One of the biggest and common pushbacks I hear about process automation is that it is complex and difficult to manage. While it is true that implementing process automation requires some technical expertise, modern automation tools are designed to be user-friendly and easy to use. Organizations can choose from a range of automation tools that offer different levels of complexity and customization. Additionally, many automation tools offer intuitive interfaces that make it easy for non-technical users to manage and monitor automated processes. The biggest hurdle to overcome is your own organization. Most organizations that I have worked with have struggled to see the value that automation brings and will throw every excuse out there to avoid moving forward with a solution.

This is simply because many organizations believe that process automation is expensive. However, there are several affordable automation solutions available in the market that cater to the needs of just about any size organization or team looking to get into automation. Moreover, the cost of automation can be offset by the savings in time and resources that automation can bring. This seems like a no-brainer, but can easily be proven by doing some initial legwork to see just how much time and resources are spent on a given process. Automation can also help organizations to reduce errors and improve compliance, which can lead to cost savings in the long run. However, just because it is automated, does not make it 100% accurate every time. There is a need to re-evaluate solutions and to ensure that you did not just create an automated way to generate bad products!

Automation is not scalable and is a quick fix

Some organizations believe that process automation is not scalable and can only be used for specific tasks. However, most modern automation tools are designed with scale in mind and I would even go as far to say they most automation products want you to use them throughout your organization. Sure, organizations can automate simple tasks such as data entry and document processing, but complex processes such as supply chain management and customer service are where most solutions shine and truly aim to help you. The great automation tools that are out there can also be integrated with other systems and applications, making it easy to scale automation across different departments and functions. If you are evaluating products and it cannot connect to a variety of systems, or at the very least have a way for you to build something to bridge that gap, it may not be worth it in the end.

This leads to another misconception about process automation and that it is a quick fix solution. While automation can certainly improve efficiency and productivity, it is not a magic bullet that can solve all of your organizational problems. Process automation requires careful planning, implementation, and management. Organizations need to identify the right processes to automate, ensure that the automation solution is scalable, and train employees to use the new system. Process automation is a long-term investment that requires ongoing maintenance and optimization. This is why I tend to start the conversation around process management and if an organization understands their processes. You would be surprised on just how much is still in “silos” within an organization.

Automation is a one-time investment

Finally, some organizations believe that process automation is a one-time investment that does not require ongoing maintenance and support. However, like any other technology, process automation requires ongoing revisions and support to ensure that it continues to deliver value. Organizations need to invest in training and support to ensure that their employees can use automation tools effectively. Additionally, organizations need to monitor and optimize their automated processes to ensure that they continue to meet their business objectives. Again, this all stems from the understanding of organizational processes and how they are managed. Just because you built a process and mapped it out, does not mean it is good for all time. No, of course not, you must go back and revise the process based on the current needs of the organization as well as the market.

Final Thoughts

Process automation can bring significant benefits to organizations, including improved efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. However, there are several misconceptions about process automation that can hinder its adoption and implementation. I discussed the more common ones that I have encountered through the years, but what about you? Have you heard similar concerns? How have you addressed them? Let me know in the comments below!


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