This morning, I ventured over to the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square to attend Automate Your World, run by enterprise automation company Automic.
The event brought together industry experts, practitioners and product specialists to discuss trends in the industry, best practices and how automation can be used to streamline business processes.
There was also a keynote appearance from J.P. Garbani, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, who spoke about the impact of new technologies on IT in the workplace.
But what did I actually learn from the event? Here are five nuggets of knowledge I took away with me.
It’s not about replacing humans
You would be forgiven for thinking that the term ‘automation’ is simply a nice way of saying ‘replacing humans with robots,’ which was exactly the subject of a recent study by Deloitte, but that’s not necessarily the case.
As Automic CEO Todd DeLaughter put it, “Automation is a way to make the humans who are running IT much more effective” and I think that is a very important point to make.
There are many people who will bemoan the fact that technology is taking jobs away from people and giving them to robots, but automation is so much more than that. If used in the right way, it can make employees more productive, more efficient and more effective, without a robot in sight.
Linking business and IT
The rapid advancement of technology in recent times now means that the boundary between business processes and IT processes is extremely blurred.
The two have become inextricably linked; businesses can’t survive and grow without an IT infrastructure in place and IT can’t survive without the business to support it.
IT automation can bridge the two together by streamlining processes and operations to enhance business efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profit.
Having listened to various industry experts, it seems obvious now that automation is one of those practices that can be applied to literally any industry.
No matter what the focus, every company has processes that can be improved and roles that can be made more efficient, meaning there isn’t really a limit to the potential of automation.
Going one step further, there aren't many job roles that wouldn't benefit from automation. I know that every job I've had could have been improved in one way or another and, although the individual processes and responsibilities will vary massively, the concept of automation can be spread across the board.
Get your employees involved
The last talk I attended at the event came from ESB, an energy and utilities company based in Ireland which generates £600 million in annual profits and now generates 40 per cent of the energy in Ireland.
ESB has been an Automic customer for 10 years now and today’s talk, which detailed how this partnership has developed over the years, touched on a recent campaign the company has been running.
Through the ‘Automate to Innovate’ campaign, ESB is reaching out to its employees and asking them which parts of their roles they think could be automated.
By involving employees in the decision-making process, it not only helps them feel more comfortable with the idea of automation, but also gives executives valuable insight into their employees daily activities.