Reporting from the Forefront of Automation

By Ben Bogin, Head of Solutions

There are times it seems like an entire cottage industry has sprung up around the fear of automation, whether it’s being used or proposed for workflows, manufacturing, aerial drones or autonomous cars.

Robot AI

Whether it’s a story about heartland America permanently losing jobs to robots, or Hollywood’s more fanciful imaginings about the dangers of robots and A.I. (Skynet! Westworld! James Spader!), we’re obsessed with looming threats. What most of us don’t embrace quite as enthusiastically, it seems, are the potential positives.

That’s why we’re always glad to see the media or an informed expert offer calm, objective commentary about automation. This article at Business News Daily gets it right, by avoiding the stridency and alarmism of many pundits and laying out a few important truths about where automation is taking us. Which begins and ends, for most people, with jobs:

“While some jobs have indeed been shed – think advanced manufacturing plants – new roles in software development and content creation have developed to support automation…Solving the problem of the displaced worker remains imperative, but automation is an increasingly accessible tool to free up the human mind for higher-order tasks.”

That’s what we’re seeing with our own customers, and what early adopters and automation advocates are more than willing to testify about.

What’s we’ve seen…

We’ve had more than a few years of experience in the trenches…or maybe we’d better avoid the warfare analogies. It might be better to say we’ve been watching our customers take their places at the working edge of automation. Like the honed blade of a plow, it’s where the most meaningful work is getting done, and where real cultural and workplace transformation is happening.

It’s not the “bleeding edge.” It’s the down-to-earth, workaday forefront of technology, where we’ve been privileged to watch its true impact on organizations and people.

Our biggest takeaway? Our customers don’t enter into workflow automation with an eye toward ruthlessly slashing their workforces. They’re interested in being more efficient and more competitive, but also in making the workplace a more positive place for people to invest a huge share of their lives.

When you remove drudgery from people’s jobs, they’re transformed, not just their processes or workflows. Morale improves. Productivity rises, and we’d guess it’s not only due to the efficiencies wired into a software platform.

Different people

It’s because people are happier at their work, more empowered and informed and open to collaboration, and that energizes them.

That desire to improve the work experience of their employees and colleagues is, honestly, one of the key motivations we’ve seen among organizations that decide to automate.

Our plow analogy works very well for the workflow automation visionaries we’ve met and grown to admire over the years. The work they’re doing is sowing positive transformation for themselves and others, both today and tomorrow.

Because the choice about whether automation helps or hurts people isn’t really up to our machines, is it?