Top 10 Automation Mistakes That Companies Make

Published on
29/11/2022 12:51 PM
Automation EM360

Automation is rapidly emerging as one of the most powerful tools for today’s business leaders. Approximately 50% of business leaders now say they’re looking to automate repetitive tasks as a way of boosting business productivity and efficiency. Additionally, countless analysts and industry authorities have named automation as one of the most crucial trends in the tech landscape. 

However, while automation can boost the speed, performance, and cost efficiencies of companies worldwide, it’s important to begin with the right strategy. 

Rapidly investing in automation without the right plan can lead to a number of issues, from wasted budgets to limited adoption. Setting the right goals and pursuing this new initiative correctly can help brands to avoid some of the top automation mistakes made by business leaders today. Let’s take a closer look at those mistakes, and how you can bypass them.

Failing to Optimise Processes First

Automation has significant potential in almost any business to enhance countless processes and practices. However, implementing automation into a process won’t fix issues in a strategy that’s already poorly designed. 

Automation isn’t intended to make up for system failures, or reduce the need for system replacement. Instead, it helps companies to augment and strengthen their existing landscape. Automating processes before they’re properly optimised can lead to a solution which doesn’t deliver the right results. 

Before diving into any automation program, it’s important to assess and audit each process. If automation will enhance the capabilities of an existing process, then it’s a worthwhile investment. If the process is already problematic, it should be fixed first

Overlooking the Importance of Precise Goals

When implementing new technologies, companies need to first define a set of clear and precise goals for what they hope to achieve. It’s impossible to measure the ROI and success of an automation strategy without first figuring out what you want to accomplish.

Before implementing new tools, take the time to ask yourself what kind of problems you want to fix in your existing ecosystem. 

If you want to make your team members more efficient and productive, you should have metrics in place to measure whether your automation solution is delivering the right results. Focusing on the right goals and metrics from day one will ensure you’re less likely to invest in a tool just because you’re excited about it’s potential. Instead, you’ll choose solutions which directly contribute to crucial outcome for your brand

Failing to Build a Centre of Excellence

Automation technologies are becoming increasingly accessible in a world of low-code and no-code technology. In some cases, this is prompting companies to believe they can implement automation into their workflows, without the need for IT assistance. However, the reality is automation strategies will always require at least some technical expertise. 

If business users lack the knowledge required to manage the data and tools in automation systems correctly, the risk of breaches and safety issues increases. Brands need to establish and fund an automation “centre of excellence”, which includes individuals with a range of knowledge and skills. Companies should be investing in teams with IT governance experience, process mapping, and analytical skills to help bring their automation strategies to life.

Forgetting to Engage all Stakeholders

Automation can have a significant and broad impact on the entire enterprise. This means companies need to think about how they can engage stakeholders from throughout the entire organisation when implementing new technologies. The goals you’ve set for your automation strategy should help you to identify who needs to be involved. For instance, if the adoption of new automation tools changes the nature of how people work in your team, you may need to involve HR. 

If your automation solutions are going to have an impact on IDs and access rights in the business, security and IT teams need to be involved. Developing your centre of excellence will help with avoiding this mistake, by allowing you to assign a specific team member in your group to stakeholder management and support.

Overlooking Employee Training

Most automation platforms and tools are designed to help companies create more meaningful and valuable employee experiences. The right technology can help workers with processes which might otherwise be complex and repetitive. However, while automation focuses heavily on empowering and enabling staff, it can also be difficult for some team members to embrace. 

Educating your team members on how your new automated technologies work, and why they’re useful can improve adoption, and reduce the risk of common mistakes. The correct training will also help team members to understand how their roles will change with access to automation while giving them the peace of mind of knowing they’re not going to become obsolete.

Underestimating the Testing Process

Though various automation solutions have grown more straightforward and convenient in recent years, they still require testing to ensure everything works as it should. Automation solutions work best when the rules and algorithms used by the systems are correct and precise. 

Failure to test correctly can lead to significant problems with business data and outcomes. With this in mind, organisations should ensure they have the right testing strategies in place before they roll automation solutions out on a business-wide basis. Thoroughly testing and auditing data integrity will also be extremely important to ensure accurate results

Wasting Effort on Overly Complex Processes

Many businesses find themselves in a difficult position when figuring out how to automate processes within the company. This often happens when processes aren’t well-understood or well-documented. If the workflow isn’t consistent, and there are too many variables involved in the decision-making process, it may not be suitable for automation. 

Because of this, it’s crucial for business leaders to assess the suitability of each process for automation strategies before they start wasting time and resources. Evaluating the number of steps and factors involved in a process before beginning an automation strategy should help companies to reduce their risk of making the wrong investments

Choosing the Wrong Technology

Successful automation requires companies to invest in the appropriate software and digital solutions to help them get the most out of their initiatives. Unfortunately, in the quest to rapidly implement and adopt automation, many brands fail to spend enough time sorting through their options. This can lead to an investment in the wrong technology from day one. 

To boost the chances of a solution’s success, companies should focus on selecting the program or set of programs designed specifically for the needs and goals of their business. Take the time to speak to innovators offering automation software, read case studies, and examine potential use cases. It may even be helpful to speak with automation experts and specialists

Not Monitoring Post-Production

Similar to most system implementation strategies, automation projects typically require extensive “hands-on” involvement from centres of excellence and IT experts after implementation. For instance, during a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) rollout, companies will need to establish a plan for consistently assessing the technology, monitoring results, and examining data quality. 

Having the right post-production procedures in place will allow managers to ensure their automation solutions continue to have a growing and positive impact on the business. This could also reduce the risk of mistakes and errors which lead to business disruptions

Ignoring Employee Impact

Finally, while it’s important to look at how to ensure the rapid adoption and scale of automation tools, it’s also crucial not to focus too heavily on the technology, over your people. Automation can lead to certain roles being reimagined, eliminated, or changed over time. This can lead to significant disruption in the company culture. 

Brands need to anticipate how employees may react to automation strategies, and ensure their teams effectively communicate how they’ll implement changes to have the lowest possible negative effect on staff members. It may even be necessary to train team members how to take on new challenges and responsibilities following the automation of certain procedures, so they can retain their roles