When you think of the term “automation,” what comes to mind? Do you think of the potential to save countless hours of manual tasks? Do you think of robots in an assembly line, plugging away at super-human speed? The attitude towards automation may be mixed, but there’s no question that the use of automation in the workplace is rising.  

Deloitte reports that 73% of organizations globally are currently utilizing automation technologies, including machine learning, NLP, robotics, and more—an increase from 58% in 2019. This adoption was undoubtedly accelerated by COVID-19. The same study highlights that 68% of businesses invested in automation specifically during the pandemic. 

Even with the increase in the use of automation technologies, misconceptions about automation remain prevalent. Let’s take a closer look into 3 common misconceptions about automation:

Automation is too expensive

One of the most common myths about automation is that it is too costly. However, the reality is that modern companies cannot afford to not use automation. 

Forrester conducted a study on the economic impact of workflow automation and determined that the ROI over three years was 176%, and within 10.5 months, companies would see dividends. Automation has the potential to expedite business processes like revenue recognition or order-to-cash as well as mitigate the chances of human error and speed up decision-making time, saving companies both time and money. 

An additional argument to this myth is the flexibility of automation offerings. Companies are providing flexible solutions that are customizable to the needs of customers. If you are looking to implement automation solutions in your organization, take a look at your business requirements to see how automation can impact your critical processes. 

Automation will take all of our jobs

A study found that even as much as 1 in every 6 Americans believe that robots will take over their jobs. While the increase in automation and technology in the workplace can affect employment rates, it is important to consider both sides of the coin. Respondents for a McKinsey study reported that  “addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization” within their workforces as at least a “top-ten priority.” 

Similarly, Deloitte took a deeper look into companies’ efforts to retrain workers as automation becomes a pillar in the workforce and reported that 59% of companies provide “learning that focuses on process skills, including active listening and critical thinking.” As automation becomes more of a staple in the workforce, we are seeing a trend of companies investing more into the cognitive abilities of employees as well as focusing more on empowering employees with the skill to augment and utilize new technologies. The WEF predicts that while automation will displace 75 million jobs worldwide by 2022, they’ll also create 133 million new jobs. 

Automation has the capability to alleviate employees from the manual tasks that can be resource and time-consuming. Forbes estimates that automation can save employees up to 6 weeks of work per year. That valuable time can be allocated to tasks that require higher level thinking, collaboration, and decision-making. 

Automation is too complicated

A prevalent belief is that automation is too complex and not user-friendly. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gartner predicts that the market for global low-code development technologies will reach $13.8 billion by the end of 2021, which is an increase of 22.6% from the previous year. This signifies the demand for technology that is user-friendly to personas ranging from developers to business-users. The W*rk Automation Index surveyed 700 mid-size to large enterprises and found that “IT users accounted for 55% of all workflows created during the year to March 2021, while business users accounted for 45%.” Low-code and no-code tools enable users with little to no technical backgrounds to leverage automation to streamline workflows, create unique processes, and edit and adapt existing procedures to fit their needs.

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Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.