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Is automation just another buzzword?

Automation. It’s a word that seems central to the constant conversation surrounding business innovation. Whether it appears hidden within one of numerous acronyms (such as BPA, RPA or IPA) or whether it’s glossed over as an all-encompassing solution, automation seems to be here to stay where business improvement is concerned. However, automation runs the risk – like many innovative solutions before it – of mutating into a buzzword. Now this shouldn’t take away from the value of an automation solution. Instead this simply addresses a concern in which ‘automation’ as messaging is being used more frequently and generically, leaving potential users confused as to what an automation solution really offers.

So, what is automation? How do we discuss it without veering into buzzword territory? And what can it help you achieve?

A brief history of automation

One of the key difficulties with automation as an umbrella or catchall term is the vast range of solutions that the term automation can be applied to. Throughout history, humans have worked to innovate in order to achieve more with less, and much of this has been achieved through automation. As we have automated an increasing number of tasks, the variation within automation solutions discussed has increased. This article is focusing on one of the most recent forms of automation, digital automation.
Even within the specific scope of digital automation, there has been much development over the years. Robotic automation can be traced back to the coining of the term Robot by the Czech playwright, Karel Capek, in his 1920 Czech play. However, the move to digital programs over physical robots occurred mostly during the 1990s. It was at this point where automation and business process management truly married. However, after a decade of little development within digital automation post millennium, the past few years have seen swift and dramatic changes in this arena, with it now seen as a necessity for most businesses - and hence the slide into buzzword territory.

Modern automation

Given that digital automation has changed so dramatically, so quickly, it’s easy for people to hold views on digital automation that are perhaps outdated or misaligned, or see it as the holy grail of business success, alongside that other buzzword – digital transformation. For those whose views of digital transformation are coloured by its earliest iterations, automation may hold connotations of high cost, intensive coding and difficult use, but this simply isn’t the case anymore. Current digital automation solutions champion low-code/no-code solutions that operate using drag and drop visual tools that allow users of varying technical skill to own their processes and innovate their operations - meaning there’s no need to employ extra or specialist staff. This modern automation is easy to use and quick to deploy.

What can automation do?

The core benefit of automation is the reduction of repetitive, manual tasks which ultimately releases an employee's time to work on more valuable and productive tasks. It reduces the risk of human error, improving consistency and compliancy, and ultimately can streamline how a business operates. Digital transformation, incorporating automation, also offers a host of additional benefits to today’s business – especially in the current mass remote working environment. Alongside process management and analytics tools, automation allows organisations an opportunity to continuously review and optimise their processes and operations with the support of data and highly visual process maps. This ensures that processes retain efficiency and businesses can boost productivity. Additionally, the rise in easy to use, modern, low-code/no-code tools means automation has become much more widely accessible, enabling and empowering individual departments to review and own their processes, fostering a culture of innovation and efficiency.

To find out more about digital automation solutions and how they can be tailored to suit your individual needs, get in touch today by calling 0191 4770365 or email enquiries@teamsynergi.co.uk.
Why not check out our automation page?

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