How using automation in the workplace makes you smarter — and more efficient.

Automation simplifies our lives. It helps minimize or eliminate simple, repetitive and mundane tasks, so we can make the most of our time and be more productive, whether we’re shopping online, following directions in our car, using a home thermostat, et al. So, it’s no surprise that the business world continues to create and implement new automated technologies. After all, more productivity can drive higher profitability.

There’s nothing novel about automation in the workplace. We’re just making it better — and smarter. Today’s automation systems and process are more sophisticated. They can capture and process more data, they are more intelligent, and in many cases, this lays the groundwork for artificial intelligence (AI).

We’re also well aware of AI claims, promises and even doomsday scenarios. We can thank the science fiction writers for that! Even though there’s no consensus definition, generally, it refers to computer software that can act and react like humans. In many ways, it’s as simple as automated machine learning or robotic process automation. Each requires systems to process massive amounts of data quickly, to reduce the toll on humans.

We’re seeing it across every vertical in every industry. For example, process automation, machine learning and AI have changed how healthcare business leaders and practitioners operate. Through automation, tedious orders, insurance forms and other paperwork once handled by humans can be processed accurately in a fraction of the time. That doesn’t eliminate humans from the process. They can simply focus on the exceptions. Key decision-makers can access information quickly, which allows them to transform patient care, equipment and prescription ordering, staffing, billing and much more.

So, what’s the problem?

There are multiple automated systems in every application, including in the healthcare example above. In fact, most companies have systems in place for (1) collecting data (2) processing data (3) deep learning and (4) automated remediation. It’s a cycle where information drives decisioning for the next phase. Unfortunately, if there’s no uniformity or automation backbone in place, each hand-off between human and machine compromises speed — as well as the integrity of the core data.

Imagine a ticketing process for returns for a large online shopping entity. A chatbot is used to initiate the return. Then, either a human agent or middleware software generates a ticket, so it can be routed to the appropriate human representative for resolution. The moment manual processes are introduced, you’re introducing the risk for errors, repetitive tasks and delays.

Your IT organization must have a wealth of resources to close that loop. You may have excellent coding/script talent. How closely is that talent aligned with your overall business strategies and processes? After all, new opportunities, and challenges, await. You may not be able create and implement new coding and scripts in time to take advantage of them. As your business evolves and adapts, coding may not be applicable and require even more back-office support. This loop of inefficiency can be avoided by tying every part of your IT group to the overall business strategy.

A third-party consultant can help bridge the gap between solving business needs with automation and ensuring new technologies are scalable and operational. This trusted advisor can be your resource to close the loop between automation, human interaction and business opportunity.

By putting your advisor at the forefront of automation within your company, you can put the power of machines and humans in the middle of a new, transformative business strategy. We’re past the era where machines are expecting to replace humans. Instead, we should be seeking opportunities where humans can complement machines, so we can be faster, more powerful and adaptable.

Embrace our place in the automated world

Since humans are driving automation and AI, we’re ultimately responsible for where they take us. As such, designing automated systems built on intelligence should reflect the values of our society. After all, if we want to emulate the way we think, we must build systems to exemplify who we are.

Automation, machine learning and AI should be embraced. There’s no need to fear losing our control, or our jobs. After all, with the right partner who can help you align new technologies with new and evolving business strategies, you’re assured that machines won’t replace us. After all, we’re too smart for that.