Automation’s Impact Today Goes Well Beyond the Obvious

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Automation is a champion for those with self-motivation and drive.

Automation is more pervasive today than ever before throughout the history of mankind. This is due to the convergence of ubiquitous information technology such as smartphones and internet-connected devices, mature cloud services and evolving automation technologies. Simply put, there is more automation being done today because it is easier to automate today than yesterday, and automation will be even easier tomorrow.

Some people fear automation citing pragmatic concerns such as losing human jobs, while others hold more apocalyptic fears such as Skynet—yes, the mankind-destroying AI system from the Terminator movies—becoming reality. But to most people, automation empowers positive process improvements and operational efficiencies, especially for high-volume, repeatable processes across practically all industries and disciplines from agriculture to zoology.

Examples of automation can be seen looking back to the automobile industry showcasing Ransom Eli Olds’ first commercially successful car, mass-produced on an assembly line in 1901 and to today’s modern marvels of genome sequencing with machine learning. In the future, the federal government to save over $3.3 billion a year by using robotic process automation to reallocate an estimated 97 million human work hours from low-value to high-value citizen support services, according to a recent Deloitte study.    

Yet, with all the proof of automation’s benefits associated with process improvement and operational efficiency, today’s impact of automation on human workers should be evangelized more because automation’s real value to humans lies well beyond just efficiency. The real value of automation today includes being an enabler, an equalizer, and a change agent for the human worker that can be quantified or described in three ways.

First, automation today is an enabler improving access to high tech education, in that automation technology firms have created a plethora of free and highly valuable online training. As technology industries struggle to find IT talent, many firms are offering training content and online, self-paced curriculum targeted to attract and educate a teenage audience regardless of their formal education levels, socio-economic status or geographic location. So, more people have more access to technology training that is timely, relevant, and in high demand.

Second, automation today is an equalizer improving access to high technology jobs, in that more and more technology producing companies and technology consuming organizations are hiring IT talent with automation experience and expertise. Empowered by access to free and online automation training, sought after technology certifications and accreditations are commonly listed in job descriptions and often prioritized over formal higher education degrees.

Third, automation today is a change agent by improving transparency of and clarity for career advancement. The highly quantifiable nature of automation inherently provides those who create efficiencies and savings with well-documented proof of their value and contributions to their employers, their peers, and their customers. Career advancement has always been based on a person’s ability to add increasing value, but career advancement is also often based on a person’s ability to prove it.         

Therefore, automation should be viewed as a champion for those with self-motivation and drive, an enabler, an equalizer, and a positive agent of change. The barriers of entry into the world of high technology through automation are low. The willingness to learn, curiosity to look for inefficiencies, and the desire to design, build, and improve are the hallmarks of the next generation of IT workers.

Brendan Walsh is a senior vice president of Partners Relations for 1901 Group.

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