Process automation consists of the optimization of tasks or activities via software. These processes must be efficient, reduce costs and execution times.
In other words, the tasks that are subject to automation are usually repetitive and easy-to-perform manual activities. Therefore, those that are considered dynamic or require some type of excessively advanced analytical intervention cannot be automated.
The process by which a company can convert a manual task to an automated task can be summarized as follows:
The automation of processes is synonymous with efficiency in economic terms, but it is also assuming the decline of a multitude of professions that over time are disappearing.
Advantages and disadvantages of process automation
There are several advantages and disadvantages around process automation, depending on your point of view.
If we see it from a purely economic and business perspective, it is an advantage to achieve greater efficiency because this leads to a reduction in costs. This means that in a market of perfect competition, there can be a reduction in prices for the product or service offered.
On the other hand, from the social and human point of view, the automation of processes will mean that some professions cease to exist or that, failing that, they have less relevance.
In order to balance the advantages and disadvantages, the following advantages are presented:
- Cost reduction and task execution times.
- Increase in business efficiency and productivity.
- Digitization and specific monitoring of one or more processes.
- Reduction of errors of human origin.
- Creation of specialized jobs in the field.
Taking into account the advantages, it does not seem that process automation has any handicap, but the truth is that it has some disadvantages to take into account:
- You may need a strong initial investment.
- Appearance or accentuation of technological risk in the company.
- Possible existence of chain errors.
- Destruction of basic jobs.
Taking a balance between the advantages and disadvantages, if we look at the historical level on previous occasions, we can come to the conclusion that the automation of processes is in line with unstoppable technological progress. As in the case of the automobile and the horse, although the appearance of the vehicles ended an economy based on horse transport, the automobile made it possible to perform almost the same tasks more efficiently.
Trainers were therefore exchanged for mechanics, and straw stalls for gas stations. In other words, well-executed progress brings with it an increase in social wealth.
Examples of process automation
Depending on the sector or professional field, process automation has been carried out in the following ways:
- Marketing: The so-called ‘marketing automation’, is the automation applied to the set of data processes related to consumers. Usually in marketing departments they are being key in order to understand and anticipate consumer behaviors. Other applications are the mass sending of segmented e-mails automatically, instead of sending them manually.
- Finance: In finance, the automation of processes works mainly with the price trends of the stock market or, where appropriate, with the company's own internal accounting. Examples are the sale of financial products automatically at a certain price.
- Industry: This is a sector in which technological updates and advances are usually coupled early. The reason lies in its high-volume nature of sales. That is to say, a small saving or reduction of specific cost in a large assembly line will mean a great saving. This is because this will be repeated as many times as the process is executed, so it will be a competitive advantage over competitors who will have less margin.
In summary, these are some of the sectors that may be involved in process automation, but not all of them have to be linked to digital and technology.
An example of this are agile strategies or methodologies, which are processes that guide and establish rules that enhance communication and processes around human capital, that is, around company personnel.