The word automation has at times scared workforces across the spectrum. The fear that individuals will lose their jobs to a computer system that can complete the task they are responsible for.
But that is not what automation is about.
Mundane and often repetitive tasks can take a lot of time out of an employee’s day. Automating those tasks allows workers to put their focus elsewhere. Automation can be the perfect job satisfaction and innovation tool if workers can use their time on things that they enjoy and allow them to be creative.
“Automation isn’t here to replace people’s jobs. In fact, it’s here to make their jobs more interesting and exciting. We still need people who understand the technology to write the automation processes, we still need people who understand the technology to streamline those automation processes, to monitor them, to make sure everything works,” said Damien Eversmann, chief architect for education at Red Hat. “But what happens is those people’s jobs get easier and more exciting, because they’re no longer doing the same repetitive toil day after day.”
Automating those repetitive tasks also reduces the likelihood of error. Human error is inevitable, even in the simplest of tasks. Especially if an individual is tasked with doing the same thing repeatedly. Allowing automation to take over those tasks will eliminate the risks that come with that human error.
“Our minds aren’t made to just keep doing stuff over and over. Our minds are built to be creative and do novel things. The idea is take all of this stuff that humans aren’t built to do away from them. You figure out the right way to do the task, and then you tell a computer how to do it, and then you move on to the next task,” Eversmann said.
Take for example the Amazon Web Services outage of 2017 in which an AWS engineer accidentally typed one number incorrectly in a command, triggering a massive reaction that halted services for a long list of AWS customers and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
Avoiding simple human errors like that through automation helps employees avoid embarrassment and the overall organization avoid system disruptions and financial losses.
The COVID pandemic has been a perfect test run of why automation can be so crucial, and the last year-and-a-half-plus has only driven the adoption of automation up.
“I think when people started realizing that they couldn’t have their employees sitting in the data center at a moment’s notice to do something, they realized they needed to define those processes and make them repeatable. People started to realize, ‘Okay we need to get this in place.’ And those that were already automating, it was a much easier move for them,” Eversmann said.
Organizations that get buy-in from their workforce on automation tools now will be better suited in the long run — and that buy-in doesn’t necessarily happen top down from the leadership level.
“The nice thing about automation is one person can see benefit from it. It doesn’t take an entire team or an entire company to see the benefit. One person can see benefits, and you can win over the organization. Because if you don’t have buy-in from the people that are using the tool, it won’t get used, no matter how much you scream and yell from the top that this is what we’re doing.” Eversmann said.
“So starting small is really good, because it helps all of these individuals see how it benefits them. Each one of them can see how their job is so much easier than it used to be, or so much more rewarding than it used to be.”