Automation, whether business process automation or general automation essentially means, “the use of computers or other control systems to control a particular process in order to increase reliability and efficiency, often through a reduction in labor” (source: wikipedia). What does this line convey to you? I see both a boon and a bane in this definition of automation.
Automation definitely increases the reliability and efficiency and thereby the productivity. At the same time it does cause a reduction in the employee workforce. Yet there are certain advantages to the employees due to automation which might outweigh the disadvantages. Here I have listed some of the compensating advantages of business process automation and listed a few yet noteworthy bane of automation also.
Process Automation Benefits
- Automation of the business process – be it a small, medium or a huge business – influences both efficiency and effectiveness.
- Increased efficiency is achieved by reducing the time involved in meting out paper work.
- Effectiveness is accomplished by increasing data precision and reducing excess manual work.
- Competence of both the managers and employees improves and leads to better and quicker decisions.
- Administrative burden reduces considerably.
- Business process automation can be achieved across various industries and different departments within companies. HR process automation is a common use case and companies may choose to either use workflow software for automating some typical processes like leave approvals and expense approvals, or use a dedicated HR management system for automating all HR-related processes within the organization. A fully featured HRMS goes beyond approvals and provides self-service features to empower employees.
- Report generation across all types of industries is made easy through automation. People do not work on reports for days now. It can be generated in a jiffy and you do not months of training to enjoy these exceptional benefits of automation.
- One of the major roles of automation in industries both technical and manufacturing is ‘Cost Saving’. Resource management and Time management has been made easy. Chances of repetitions, errors and rectifications are also reduced considerably.
Shortcomings of Process Automation
- Automation is all about data and one of the basic disadvantages of automation is that data is prone to corruption/hacking/data losses.
- Training the employees to gain specific knowledge to utilize the automated applications will be an initial investment which the organizations should be ready to invest in.
- Data entry errors are possible as the automation performance depends solely on its human programmers and end users.
- Reduces human interaction and inter-personal contacts.
- The proclivity of being dependent on technology will reduce the reliance on manpower, thus it poses a great risk on the basic foundation of HR.
Conclusion: Boon or Bane?
From the above pointers we see the benefits of automation definitely overshadow the failings and I would conclude that automation in industries is a blessing in disguise in making the business process more effective and efficient, along with savings in costs and making the tasks more accurate and less time consuming.
What do you think? Ponder over and share in your contributions to the boon or bane aspects of automation.