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Challenges in Automation Decisions: The Value

The search for a new automation solution usually starts after one of two things happens:

  • someone looks at a task or a process and determines that there has to be a better way of doing things or
  • business systems have changed, and the existing methods or systems won’t work anymore.

Research begins, options are identified, a new approach is selected, and teams move forward with the new automation.  Right?

Actually, 40-60% of teams don’t move forward with the new automation.

I used to think that if teams dropped out of the process, it was because priorities shifted, or they decided to stay with the existing methods, or they lost their funding.  And while those things do happen, of course, what really surprised me was how often automation projects were derailed due to Fear, Burden, or Value.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked about how Fear of Failure and the Assumption of Burden can influence a project’s progress.

Today, I want to focus on that last one – Value – or rather, the Misperception of Value.

What is the Value?

When an automation investment first arises in an organization, it needs to be clearly evaluated on the requirements, the impact, and the benefits.  In other words, the Why.

This information is the core of your business case.  Once this is established, it needs to stay the focus of all efforts going forward.

Everyone associated with the automation change needs to be 100% sure they understand the “Why” for their involvement.  That includes the architects, deliverers, and users of the automation change.

And since people don’t like change very much – especially at work – establishing the value for each of them makes their acceptance much easier.

Measure It.

Some projects are successful simply by being completed.  These include solutions like the ones implemented because the old solution technology is no longer viable in your environment, like when you stand up a new ERP.

But for most automation solutions, we need metrics to demonstrate success.  Having hard measurements at the end of the project – and being honest about the results – are critical and need to be communicated.

Publishing the results provides evidence of a successful effort and allows everyone to feel their contribution to success.

Getting Past the 40-60%

If proactively, as solution providers, we can address these three challenges of Value, Fear, and Burden, it should produce fewer non-decisions and improve your chance to leverage the right automation for your organization’s success.

Clear and timely communication is critical and greatly reduces the risk these challenges can create.  When everyone is on board with a clear understanding of the “What, Why, and How,” you may be surprised at the positive contribution this brings.

In our business supplying mobile inventory for your physical assets, a big part of our success is helping our customers handle these three challenges.   We understand that we have to be more than an automation solution manufacturer, but we also want to ensure you’re on an effective path to how it gets implemented and used in your organization.

What are the challenges that you’re running into?  I’d be interested to hear about your experiences and approach.  Let’s talk.