By: Michael Cantu', CEO of Accelerate. Guest Blogger
Automation – What is it?
First I’d like to talk to a very important point that often loses its value in the hype of humanoid robot images, pitchy sales people, and even lingo used everywhere – the point is that at whatever new juncture we find ourselves in, developing a new way of doing things there is inevitably misunderstood. The misunderstanding of automation comes from its repetitive nature over time. Since the beginning of the world, we have been automating things – from moving from palm branches, to engine power, to electric driven fans to automated cooling inside of our houses. We can see automation at work.
The real question that we need front in center is: how will our company participate in the market of the future and what does that participation look like? For many, education is among the most necessary needs in order to understand the current technological climate and where the future market is going. I hate to bring “experience” into this equation, but experience is the key driver of all of it, paired with human desire. How do we cohesively develop a systemic strategy that is repeatable, upgradeable, experiential, and satiating to the human desire and needs of our future organizations?
'How do we look at this value and bring
Today, it isn’t enough to rely on one company’s vision for your technology stack. You must take the time to understand a variety of technologies and how and where they fit in your company and its roadmap. Technology companies have a way of selling what they want to sell, rather than really giving the customer what they want. Rather, a compromising technology is sold that doesn't meet the customer needs--they are oversold.
Intersection of Versatility
This tendency is important to understand as you choose your technology path. The reason it is important is because, when you decide to change technologies and grow, you must make the decision that is appropriate for your ship and for your destination – while understanding that repeatability is important, but so is ease of-use and change. To me, one of the most important aspects to choosing a technology lays within the ability to configure and reconfigure it.
At the pace of most capital requests, as the future changes, we’re limited by the versatility of our product choices. The questions will be and have to be:
If we start thinking about automation in the context of enablement, it will change our organizations:
These questions help determine the course of the future. These questions also answer which pieces should and can be automated while we continually consolidate and disintegrate our businesses into specialized purpose-built units.
Specialized Work Force
All of us have experienced disintegration in some way. "Disintegration" is a continuous stream of re-appropriating and optimizing people, processes, and resources across our organizations. Along the lines of automation, disintegration has allowed us to specialize and hyper-specialize our work forces – which brings another phase of tool specialization tied to roles.
The determination of necessary roles is the factor that determines which tools are required for those roles. This is determined by what can be removed and streamlined by automated processes, tying together both digitized process actions with human intervention.
As hyper-specialization grows, so does the consolidation of systems and companies surrounding the disintegration. This disintegration, being heavily dictated by the core functions – most times kept in house – serve as the main source of company profitability and value. How do we look at this value and bring more value – that is the question that automation answers.
Automation is a chameleon of value, meaning that there are chameleons everywhere waiting to be spotted and extracted from our organizations. A penny saved, is a penny earned and a higher margin on either side of the swing for the sale.
Leaving other pieces of theory around this out, it is key to understand which period, cycle, and area your business is currently in. There are multiple phases happening organization-wide at the same time – we have to be inspectors, and researchers in identifying these value chameleons and extracting them.
So what can you do to move forward? It all depends on what tier you’re in. There is a matrix I’ve been designing that will help to visualize the industries that will see the fastest impact and change. I will try to share that soon. As you start thinking about automation, it should be rephrased simply – “How do we do more, with less?” Less isn’t just money… it has to do more with time-to-fulfillment, rising quality standards of maintaining and controlling production, while at the same time becoming more practical.
Movement of the Future
In summary, I've presented a lot of complex ideas. The idea is that we will be moving into a stage of more symbolic analysis – in simple terms, our organizations will become more problem solvers from symbolic relationships, than workers. Think: How do we make this better? This is going to be a key movement to the future.
At Accelerate, we’ve taken a lot of these items, methodologies, etc., into account into delivering a platform that is easy to mold into what you need in order to support your organization while orchestrating both process and human interventions – all with one organizational view of data. We are at the beginning of where we will be going. The future that seems so far away will be here before we know it.
As you start thinking about automation, it should
Kathy Kent Toney
I'm passionate about helping organizations grow profitably in ways they haven't imagined!