Why Companies Hesitate to Use Automation (And Why They Shouldn't)
A decade ago, when I witnessed the marvels of automation software, I was certain that this was the future of business – I mean, which business wouldn’t want to realise the efficiencies of automating their repetitive and predictable tasks? Fast forward to today, and my assumption feels a tad premature.
During presentations at various conferences, when posed with the question of who was familiar with business automation tools like UiPath or Microsoft Power Automate, a good majority of the room acknowledged with a raised hand that they were. However, when asked who actually used these tools, fewer than one in five kept their hand up.
The hesitancy around automation
This reluctance wasn't limited to classic automation tools either. Even Generative AI, with tools such as ChatGPT, which is a big part of the zeitgeist right now, was also being received with undue reservation. An MIT study, for instance, showcased that workers saw a productivity boost of 37% with generative AI. The researchers concluded with confidence that, “For now, the evidence we provide suggests that generative AI technologies will — and have already begun — to noticeably impact workers.” And this impact for the most part is positive, with worker efficiency being improved consistently.
The difference is that generative AI is a lot easier to deploy and get benefits from so we will naturally see a more rapid adoption rate, particularly with the advent of solutions like Microsoft’s 365 Copilot where the privacy concerns of using ChatGPT are eliminated.
So the lingering question remains: Why the hesitancy towards automation?
Here are two common refrains I've heard time and time again, and my counterpoints to each:
1. "We're intrigued by automation, but don't know where to start."
I often suggest that companies start by focusing on their strategic objectives. These might be encapsulated within corporate strategies, risk registers, audit findings, or function-level KPIs. Selecting one or two high-priority objectives can set the stage for automation initiatives.
At The Missing Link, we've deployed AI-assisted solutions to scan vast amounts of data, helping organisations pinpoint potential areas of automation. With such rapid diagnostics, we can craft a tailored plan, endorsed by stakeholders within the organisation, outlining where and how to start your company’s automation journey.
2. "We simply don't have the bandwidth for such a transformative shift."
It's a quintessentially human trait to gravitate towards the familiar. We find solace in battling day-to-day challenges rather than confronting root causes. Traditional growth often entails adding more personnel, a model with inherent scalability limits.
By embracing automation and AI however, we're not only fortifying our businesses but also making a prudent, long-term investment for our future.
Bringing automation into the fold
In my frequent interactions with C-level executives, I notice a recurring pattern: an initial interest with automation overshadowed by inaction. But here's a candid plea: whether you collaborate with us or chart your own path, it's imperative to welcome automation into your fold. As stakeholders in the Australian economy, an economy needing to outpace population growth, our shared motivation should be to ensure a robust support system to support that growth into the future – a goal that automation and AI can support.
So, while the hesitancy towards automation and AI is understandable given the uncertainties of new technologies, it's an opportunity we can't afford to bypass. The future, much like automation, waits for no one. It’s up to all organisations to embrace it now, for a more prosperous and secure tomorrow.
Want help with your organisation's automation journey?
We’re helping organisations get ready for the launch of Microsoft 365 Copilot which you can learn more about in our upcoming webinar.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can empower your business to leverage the benefits of automation.