Simply put, automation is the ability to use technology to perform tasks with minimal human effort. More specifically, automation describes the tools, techniques, and strategies designed to minimize labor, freeing up human workers to focus on other responsibilities.
The most-often cited benefits of automation include the following:
- Fewer human errors
- Higher quality work product
- Increased speed
- Improved productivity
- Increased employee availability
- Reduced labor costs
Of course, there are also challenges associated with automation. The most prominent of these is the risk of losing the human element when interacting with customers and associates. Other concerns include employee inability to adapt to using automated systems.
That said, the push towards automation is a major focus for business and technology decision makers, with 32% identifying accelerating digital business transformation as their top driver for process improvement initiatives.