The 3 Types of Automation

As we have discussed in one of our previous blogs, Digital Transformation makes tasks more practical and easier to perform, leaving us to deal with more important and urgent chores.

To quote it directly:

“While we sip our morning drink with our eyes fixed on a screen, a little robot does the cleaning on the floor, while a machine cleans our dishes, and another washes our laundry.”

And, as it was pointed out in our post, a good factor contributing for this technological advancement is automation.

Automation is the act of letting technology take care of routine, of repetitive and tiring activities previously performed by humans – with little to no intervention from us, whatsoever.

The 3 Types of Automation

Automation can be classified in three types: basic, integration or process.

Image from: MIT

Basic automation focuses on the simple tasks we execute in our everyday lives – like sending messages online or making online purchases.

Integration automation is more similar to our given examples, in the sense that it groups machines that mimic human actions. Think about how your phone offers suggestions to complete your sentences, or how safely you can conduct online transactions – it is all thanks to different providers that automate and integrate their services.

Process automation is related to businesses. This type of automation historically existed for the sake of increasing a company’s productivity and efficiency. Workplace automation aims to make things easier – for humans.

More Rewarding Work, Better Workplace Culture

Automation frees people from performing more challenging or creative tasks, which is ultimately more rewarding and makes for more satisfied and engaged employees. And, when staff is engaged, they care more about the work they do – which translates into business success.

It simply is the act of automating the workplace – the activities or the services.

In response to the pandemic, 80% of companies plan to accelerate the digitalization of work processes, and 50% aim to do so by automating tasks. Cutting costs, speeding up processes, and reducing errors – the advantages of Robotic Process Automation are undeniable.

The automated enterprise equals a resilient and future-proof organization. So, despite the economic recession, CEOs and CIOs invested heavily in workplace automation during 2020 and 2021.

Besides, automation flares up with industrial revolution. Look at the assembly line of production and electrification in the 19th century, and the industrial robots and computerization of the 20th century – why would the Fourth Industrial Revolution be any different?

Automation at Work

There’s no denying that the phrase “work automation” can evoke images of robots taking over jobs, and breed apprehension in employees. But it can be, in fact, a great tool for businesses, freeing employees from drudge work and boosting team collaboration, effectiveness, creativity and efficiency.

Work automation often involves using technology to automate repetitive, manual processes. As well as streamlining workflow, keeping track of each part of a process and helping to increase overall productivity, automation can free people up to concentrate on more knowledge-based tasks, allowing them to use their skills in a more strategic way.

For example, automating responses to some customer service queries doesn’t just save a company money – it can enable employees to focus on more difficult-to-solve cases (meaning they can apply their knowledge to greater effect, and gain greater job satisfaction).

Rather than thinking machines are being installed to take over their jobs, employees can see automation processes as something to work alongside, to ensure that daily tasks run more smoothly and swiftly. Let your employees know that the future of work isn’t one where “those robots” are descending to replace them, but rather that they will help and work alongside people!

Image from: USC Consulting Group

How Automation facilitates Digital Transformation

Humanity is, in fact, going through its Fourth Industrial Revolution right now – a period that focuses on advancing technology to make it stay even closer to us; a technology that merges itself with us, that fabricates virtual worlds within our own. The way we are used to do things with technology is transforming: we name it Digital Transformation.

Just like we had mentioned in a previous blog on how augmented reality will improve productivity – automation plays a big role in Digital Transformation as well.

It is, therefore, safe to say that automation has its own role in Digital Transformation – even though it dates back from previous Revolutions. As we have talked about, automation shows itself present in our lives when we put machines or robots to do house chores for us while we do other important chores. That is: when we let technology make us more productive.

And that is one of the benefits  of automation – it allows us to not perform activities that could be potentially harmful and dangerous to us, or simply repetitive and physically exhausting.

With a faster population growth, the world demands products in high quality to be done faster – and machines are better than us to reach perfectionism. After all, they can continuously operate without tiredness or extra costs!

 

Automation is everywhere, and it is growing into our workplaces and personal lives alike. Automation took the liberty to spread and evolve onto Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – it builds itself into other technological branches that are essential to us, and revolutionary as well.

And this is the beauty of Digital Transformation, after all: everything is connected, and everything is automated.

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