In this day and age, the reality of modern life is that we often spend too much time looking for, configuring, and troubleshooting the many different productivity tools and automation solutions that surround us. It is extremely easy to over-complicate our lives under the mantra of automation and I’m finding this more prevalent at home as I try drive more and more automation. But how much automation is too much?
An often-forgotten aspect of sound governance planning is turning things off when they no longer provide value and replacing old systems and processes when the time and cost to run them exceeds the value they provide.
Hyperautomation vs. IT democratization - an interesting article I came across when going down the proverbial automation rabbit hole, leads us to think about the importance of automation management, which is to say, proactive change management surrounding your automation. As the article points out, “traditional IT solutions are “reluctant” to change – and without changes, applications quickly start holding you back, instead of pushing you forward.”
So, if we look at it from a project management and operations perspective, there are two things which need to happen for the successful and proactive management of automation efforts:
1. Track your automation efforts. Keep records of, or better yet, a visual diagram of your various automation solutions that will allow you to keep track of and assess the impacts to your various automations as your systems and tools change, and your customer and business needs evolve. As I’ve recently found out by doing a tiny bit of web development, coders understand this concept of branching and labelling as they work so that changes in one area do not break the overall system, and when change inevitably happens, you can more quickly assess the impacts and time to implement.
2. Democratize your automation efforts. Whenever possible, automation should be driven by the people who own and understand the business processes being automated, and the underlying data so that when the inevitable change happens, they will better know what to do and how to mitigate.