5 Reasons Companies
Fail to Automate

According to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, the share of companies adopting automation technologies is steadily climbing. However, few of these companies have achieved automation’s full potential. In fact, less than 20 percent of respondents say their organizations have already scaled automation technologies across multiple parts of the business.  

Below, we’ll dig into some of the challenges around automation and provide tips for how to overcome them. 

PROBLEM: Lack of knowledge on the latest tech 

SOLUTION: Know your tech, even if you’re not techy   

In order to meet the needs of the ever-evolving digital market, executives must expose themselves to new ideas and ways of working. However, many executives are leaving their companies at a disadvantage by failing to educate themselves on new business technology tools and thinking. This doesn’t require advanced technical expertise, rather an effort to gain awareness about the latest automation opportunities. At the end of the day, every executive should be investigating new opportunities for digital transformation. Resources such as books and articles are readily available to improve one’s tech expertise. Further, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great platforms for you to interact with tech industry experts across the world. Use these networks to follow accounts of people and companies who are pushing the boundaries of automation every day. Lastly, you can partner with an advisor who will help you stay up to date on the latest technological trends and give you tips on how to stay ahead of the growth curve. All in all, to stay competitive and relevant in today’s business world, you need to stay current with the changing trends in technology. This will help your business get the most out of its current technologies and make the right technological investments moving forward. 

PROBLEM: Not having a clear plan and end goal  

SOLUTION: Map your goals and define an automation vision   

Without a clear vision and strategy, companies are simply left with automation for the sake of automation- which will not help them scale successfully. To define an automation vision, companies should consider the following questions: 

  • What are the business problems my organization is trying to solve through automation? 
  • What are the risks if we don’t increase our level of automation? 
  • How committed is our organization to pursuing automation? 


From there, you can start building your automation strategy, such as deciding which processes you want to automate, picking the right tools, setting a budget and identifying key stakeholders. Further, a lack of clarity around how success will be measured can result in an automated process that is not maximized to meet project goals. Therefore, it’s important for companies to clarify how and when their goals will be measured, and to communicate these goals regularly. Developing tangible goals, such as the amount of time you want to save or the number of processes you’d like to automate in a certain time period, is a good start. That being the case, it’s a good idea to implement metrics such as a proper growth timeline, forecasted ROI, and clear KPIs. Ultimately, proper planning and goal setting is key.

PROBLEM: Reliance on legacy technology (habit or necessity?) 

SOLUTION: Break the habit 

Countless companies rely heavily on systems they’ve used for years. However, in most cases, these once beneficial systems are now outdated and putting their company at a serious disadvantage. This can lead to problems such as a reduction in productivity, security issues & vulnerabilities, as well as higher costs to maintain such technology. Understandably, the price and risk of trashing and replacing these systems is often a deterrent to do so. However, there are ways to help facilitate a seamless transition. For example, your company can start by running a pilot program. This will help prove technical feasibility/credibility while also giving your company time to work out kinks, such as connecting the new technology to old ones and fine-tuning processes for completing tasks using the new tech. Another way to encourage a smooth transition is by assembling an implementation team. This team can help oversee administrative details and make sure the project receives appropriate resources. Altogether, adopting updated systems and technology can lead to major, long-term benefits for your company; as the latest tech contains features that are guaranteed to boost productivity, improve your business’s efficiency and scale more easily. Not to mention save time and money.  


PROBLEM: Automating the wrong processes 

SOLUTION: Know thyself 

For some companies, it may appear that every process is fit for automation. Yet the reality is not all business processes should/need to be automated. Automating processes that aren’t suited for it, such as ones that are too infrequent, can lead to wasted time and disappointing results. Therefore, it’s important that managers analyze workflows to recognize which processes are worth automating- such as ones that are the most common/repetitive and don’t require a lot of human intervention. Further, choosing what you automate may depend on which growth stage your business is at. If you’re a new business, it may make sense to focus your automation efforts on activities like lead generation and list building. If you’re a mature business that wants to boost sales, you may want to prioritize something else (e.g. automate email lead nurturing and pre/post-sale activities). Overall, knowing which aspects of a company to automate is a game changer, the effects of which can be felt at an organizational level. 

PROBLEM: Lack of guidelines on synchronizing work between humans and bots 

SOLUTION: Find the sweet spot   

In the modern workplace, humans and machines will work together seamlessly, complementing each other. Or at least that’s the goal. Yet many companies are woefully unprepared for this scenario. Eventually, companies will need to figure out how humans and bots can co-exist and collaborate. The reality is, some tasks lend themselves to automation, while others require that unique human element. A successful automation strategy is all about finding that sweet spot between the two. To do so, you should first determine what kinds of tasks are best suited for machines. These are often the precision tasks that are formulaic and time-consuming. Such monotonous, laborious tasks steal your energy from important tasks, and by automating them humans can have more time to focus on fresh solutions and tasks of greater value. Now, what tasks need that special human touch? Customer interactions that involve empathy and negotiation need humans. Creative tasks most often demand that human element as well. 

At the end of the day, the decision to choose which processes are best suited for bots vs. humans will vary depending on the task and the industry. It requires a delicate balance; however, the end goal should be to find the best combination possible between automation and the human touch. 

Overall, investing thought, time and effort into these challenges can help ensure that your business’s automation initiatives are successful. In the end, it’s the organizations that are already making these changes which are meeting their automation targets- achieving greater productivity, higher efficiency and increased profits.