Does Automation Increase Productivity?

Aoife McCardle
Digital Marketing Executive

Talking about automation usually brings to mind a factory worker being replaced by a robot or machine that can do their job without the need for a break. While this is the case, automation is filtering into numerous other sectors as well, most notably data processing. The incorporation of automation in Big Data processing has dramatically increased productivity in the last 10 years. The diagram below shows that it is one of the most automatable areas of business:

Research results from McKinsey & Co. also show that the pandemic moved companies to accelerate the digital transformation of their operations by three to four years. Although cost savings are always a driver, the results of research from SnapLogic, show that 59% of respondents employ automation to increase customer engagement and satisfaction, and 58% use it to drive employee productivity. This supports the idea that automation will drive the next wave of success.

The understanding that automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help an organisation operate more efficiently is shared by employees. In fact, once employees see how it can eliminate mundane tasks and improve decision-making, thus helping them work more efficiently and effectively — they’re usually on board.

But what is automation? The term automation describes technologies that help reduce human intervention in processes. It comes in many forms, including: Robotics, Computerisation, AI and Mechanisation. It is likely that you’re already familiar with some of these. According to a McKinsey study, 31% of businesses have already fully automated at least one function. But while automation might seem like a perfect solution, what is the actual impact on company productivity?

In short: it’s a time saver. Every hour in the work-day is valuable and we all know too well how quickly a day, a week or a year seems to fly by. For example, if a designer learns a little shortcut that can save them 10 seconds, and they use this up to 200 times in one day, that 10 second shortcut has actually saved them 33 minutes!

Now upscale this to creating an automated system that can run virtually autonomously thanks to the helping hand of AI. This can save hours of work! Hours that can be better dedicated to grappling problems and exploring creative solutions. It allows more time to focus on business progression as well as maintenance, examining emerging possibilities and opportunities in greater detail. 

This time will also increase job satisfaction as workers will not have their energy depleted by mundane and monotonous tasks. Enabling an individual to diversify their work and take on new challenges as they grow will help them to fulfil their potential.   

Automating data processes also means, quite simply, that more data can be processed. Without the need for human intervention, and with the ability to independently learn and adapt using AI technology, Big Data can be processed on an ever-growing scale. 

Removal of human error. While AI is not infallible as it is made by humans and therefore at risk of human error, the automation of data processing reduces the potential for human error dramatically, almost to the point of complete exclusion. Reduced possibility for human error means more accurate and therefore more useful results with a higher degree of application.   

Finally, automation allows workers to see the bigger picture of their work wIthout being bogged down in the details. This grants people the opportunity to examine the impact their work has and assess areas of potential improvement and growth within themselves as well as the business as a whole.

The thought of automation may bring movie plots to mind about artificially intelligent robots taking over, but in truth it is not scary at all. Automation not only helps a company’s productivity but also an individual employee’s productivity and job satisfaction. It also increases job opportunities and prospects because companies have more time to grow and develop quickly in a way they never have before. These are just some of the reasons why we at Nova Futur value automation greatly and are actively incorporating it into our work.

Written by:
Aoife McCardle
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