Jun 13, 2018

source: techrepublic.com
Businesses everywhere, no matter their size or industry, are always looking for ways to save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency. On the spectrum of business sizes, those on the smaller end tend to lack the manpower and resources that bigger businesses have. Those on the larger end, on the other hand, have the manpower and resources, but lack the flexibility to react quickly to market changes and may end up wasting money in the confusion that comes with larger businesses. Fortunately, a solution for both comes in the form of automation.

What Is Automation?

When you get down to it and sift through all the technical jargon, automation is simply a process that’s performed without human assistance. An automation system could be anything from machines in a factory creating a product through an assembly line to a program sending automated emails every day at a set time, and today we’ll be focusing on automation in IT.

After years and years of incremental advances in automation, recent trends show us that we’re in the middle of an automation boon where business processes and workflows are switching from human to digital hands. Before we get to those trends, let’s focus on some of the advantages of automation.

The Many Benefits and Advantages of Automation

At its core, all types of automation take over processes that were previously done manually, freeing up workers to complete higher-level tasks that require a human touch. For example, instead of spending hours performing repetitive tasks, such as generating reports and extracting data from them, human workers can focus on analyzing that data and making sense of it.

Additionally, all the time employees spend working on those mundane tasks are paid for by the company. By assigning those tasks to machines, that money can be spent on tasks that are more deserving of compensation. And because we’re talking about machines that can be programmed to complete many tasks with a high degree of accuracy, not only is productivity improved, but also the quality and consistency of the work.

As you can see, automation comes with many benefits and advantages that can give your business the edge it needs to compete in today’s market. With that in mind, let’s get back to what we touched on earlier: the top 3 trends in automation.

1. Intelligent Automation

Most of the automation in IT revolves around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and in the coming years, the majority of advances in automation will be a direct response to advancements in AI. These ‘self-learning’ systems can make decisions that were previously decided by humans, such as validating business processes and recognizing shortcomings, identifying the best systems to execute certain processes, and providing additional resources wherever necessary before a human hand gets involved.

2. IoT and Automation

Apart from AI and machine learning, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also working together to connect devices and applications throughout the enterprise so they can work concurrently with as little human assistance as possible. It comes down to the fact that at its core, IoT is about making connections between devices, and automation is the extra ingredient it needs to do so without human input.

3. Humans and Automation

Finally, a big misperception of automation is that it’s going to take over our jobs and leave us in the past. While it may take over some jobs, that mindset is harmful, especially when we consider that, ironically, automation’s true strength lies in it working in conjunction with humans. For starters, automation is more likely going to change roles and create new ones rather than completely take them over. In other words, strategies need to be created that align people, processes, and automation so they have a bigger impact together.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Automation is improving by the day and its capabilities expanding by the minute. Here’s the tl;dr version of what we covered today:
Automation describes a process that’s performed without human assistance and can be anything from machines in a factory creating a product through an assembly line to a program sending automated emails every day at a set time.
Businesses of all sizes can use automation to save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Automation can take over processes that were previously done manually, freeing up workers to complete higher-level tasks that require a human touch.
Most of the automation in IT revolves around AI and machine learning, and in the coming years, the majority of advances in automation will be a direct response to advancements in AI.
Apart from AI and machine learning, automation and IoT are also working together to connect devices and applications throughout the enterprise so they can work concurrently with as little human assistance as possible.
A big misperception of automation is that it’s going to take over our jobs and leave us in the past — instead, it’s going to change roles and create new ones with strategies that align people, processes and automation.

Best of luck!

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