What is Automation?

In my opinion, automation is the process of converting work that is currently done manually into one that is done by a computer, a robot, or done by humans but on a predictable, repeatable schedule. You may find other explanations or definitions for automation, but in my opinion, that is the best and most straightforward explanation of the process.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “Can’t everything be automated? Aren’t the robots going to replace our jobs?” The answers to those question are ultimately, “yes” and “probably yes.” In theory, you could automate anything; the only thing standing in your way is time, money and the knowledge or the existing bounds of physics. We’ll get to the robots replacing our jobs part in a minute.

The real question here is not “Can’t everything be automated?” but instead, “Should everything be automated?” The answer to the latter is an unequivocal NO.

There are some processes that are done on a daily basis that can 100% be automated that no one would ever miss doing, such as generating expense reports and other reports, posting to social media, sending follow-up e-mails to potential customers, texting existing customers about recent experiences with your service, etc. All that stuff is important but doesn’t require a person to push a button every time to make it happen. You can easily set up a piece of software or a platform to make all those things reliably happen on a schedule, and you won’t even have to think about them.

That said, determining what should and should not be automated requires experience and expertise. Should you automate conversations with potential customers regarding whether they should choose one particular product over another? Or what about the process of explaining how their payment due date is calculated? Or perhaps the issue of why a particular service not functioning correctly? Or even responding to something as broad as a customer saying, “I have a terrible emergency and I need help.”?

Automation is a valuable tool whose purpose is to create more time and space for you to do things that are more important to you personally or more valuable to your business. The less time you spend performing basic or mundane tasks, the more time you have to devote to performing higher level work that brings in greater revenue and profits. In other words, using automation as part of your business results in higher productivity, the ability to earn more income, and ultimately personal satisfaction.

Another question I often get is, “Isn’t automation just a fad?” The simple answer to that is…perhaps.

Depending on how you define it, automation has been around since before the industrial revolution. The printing press is a great example of automation.  The ability to print pages cheaply and quickly allowed publishers to lower the cost of books and make them accessible to the masses. Producing consistent results over and over again with automated machinery on a schedule is the cornerstone of manufacturing today. Companies such as Ford, GM, GE, and other industry leaders have been using robots and automation to produce products we are all using today. Hell, the phone, tablet, or computer you are using to access this article right now was likely built as a result of automation.

A new application of automation that can revolutionize the way we do business is by applying it to marketing! Marketing your business through automation is accessible and affordable, and can be used by companies in all industries, no matter the size of the business.

That leads to the following questions:  How do I automate? What do I do? Where do I do it? What do I call it? (It’s okay, you can stop breathing into a bag now). I’ve found that people freak out about this series of topics. They don’t know what to do, who to call, or even where to go. Then they lose their mind, quit thinking about it, and end up over in the corner sucking their thumb asking for a cup of juice.

But it does not have to be overwhelming! Most automation is done through various software tools. Many of them are easy to use, can complete a variety of complex tasks and procedures, and can be set up with a few clicks of a button. The software is very user-friendly, and in a lot of cases you can become an automation expert in only a few weeks if you have the time and energy to learn it.

I often read that people, especially people from the older generation, are concerned that robots are coming to take our jobs. Well, to be honest with you, that has been the gossip on the street since the Industrial Revolution. But here we are in 2019, and there are still jobs available for people. In fact, the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in recent history, so alarmists can put that in their pipes and smoke it. I will, however, note that automation may cause some “disruption” in the spaces that people commonly refer to as marketing. But that doesn’t mean there will be fewer jobs,  that just means there is more opportunity for different jobs.

So this is the point at which I’m supposed to call you, as the audience, into action! I’ve been working on what to do here. Should I sell you something? Should I tell you to sign up for some “that’ll change everything product”? Or perhaps I should give you some pearl of wisdom that will change your life? Well, oddly enough I don’t have anything to sell you at this very moment other than myself and my automation services which can make your life easier and your business more profitable. So here is my call to action! Come back tomorrow and watch the next one of these and share this with a friend!