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January 22, 2019

All for one and Automation for all: tips for empowering teams to embrace Automation

LH
Laura Hauser 5 minute read

Missed the first blog in the series? Read Step 1: Embracing the cultural shift to automation innovation

From mobile banking to online TV streaming, automation is at the heart of disruption we experience as a society.

Whether it’s evolving the way work gets done or shifting the way we experience joy and connection, automation has become a game changer for innovators to stay ahead.

However, the word “automation” can evoke both excitement and fear across departments, industries and disciplines.  And according to our recent Future of Automation report, repetitive, mundane tasks persist. People are still spending the most of their day on manual tasks that could be easily automated.


Automation is the future, but we have reached a critical tipping point when it comes to mainstream adoption.  So how can leaders empower their teams to spend less time on the mundane and more time creativity solving problems?

Well one way is by Democratising Automation.

Reccomended:

Download our recent Future of Automation report. This post discusses Democratising Automation - bringing the power of Automation to all.

Automation in the hands of the few doesn’t serve the greater good

For decades, programmers and developers have been at the heart of workplace Automation. Any process, workflow, or integration required a software engineer to make it happen. Gartner once described this is as fostering a “hero-culture” in IT, where Automation know-how and ability sits with a few chosen, highly technical few.

This creates a bottleneck with a lot of power held by small group of people, who’s time could be better spent solving more complex problems. It’s clear that automation has the power to make a massive impact on the bottom line, so how do you begin breaking down these internal barriers?

Harness the power of community-sourced automation

In the era of constant oversharing, there are so many problems which have already been solved openly. Open source platforms and initiatives are prime examples of communities willing to share the solutions they’ve created. And automation techniques, best practices and even road-tested scripts allow for what we call: Community Driven Automation.

Sites like Stack Overflow, Reddit, and for us (at Adaptavist) the Atlassian Community forum are examples of Community Driven problem solving. There’s a ton of information out there on how others have solved challenging problems. A quick google search can usually save hours and hours of trying to solve a problem from scratch.

Leverage plug-and-play Automation scripts, libraries, and templates to unlock new ‘out-of-the-box’ value from Automation.   

Address the skills gap through education

92% of respondents believe that new skills and more training are required to help Automation thrive. In other words, organisations do not feel ready or adequately skilled to fully implement Automation.

To address the growing skills gap which is standing in the way of delivering Automation to the masses, business leaders should:

  • Focus on driving the reskilling, upskilling and continuous learning agenda across your organisation. Any time and efficiency savings from Automation should be invested back into Automation-led training and development programs.
  • Conduct an audit of current workforce skills against what will be required for future success. Focus and invest in closing out this gap.
  • Leverage innovative online learning platforms to upskill your people in a non-disruptive and cost effective way, while encouraging adoption and best business practices. This can also boosts moral as people learn new skills, and get their creative juices churning in new ways.

But turning marketers, lawyers, and HR staff into coders isn’t the most scalable solution. We need to empower all teams to be more self sufficient with the right tools and technologies. 

Invest in inclusive ‘low-code’ Automation platforms to break down barriers

Low-Code Development Platforms (LCDP) are software programs that provide the same environment programmers use to build applications through graphical user interfaces and configurations. Google’s Blockly and MIT’s Scratch are prime examples of low code tools. These platforms were created to teach children how to code via drag-and-drop workspaces.

This modular approach allows people who are not software developers to build and test applications quickly.  And we’ve started embracing this trend at Adaptavist in a big way.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be launching AutoBlocks for Jira, a way all Jira users can standardise workflow best practices, create automations, and customise the look and feel with a simple of Atlassian tools, in a easy-to-use, low-code workspace.

As a marketing team lead, I can now create my own automations in Jira. For example, I can automate notification emails when a blog is published or when major design changes are made to our website.

 

The future of automation belongs to everyone.

"Automation tools can empower any type of user - not just IT - to do more with software. If routine, mundane jobs can be automated, then people can apply themselves to solving more complex, higher value problems, and potentially do more creative projects that make their jobs more interesting and fulfilling." - Adaptavist CEO Simon Haighton-Williams

Automation is the cornerstone of our modern society.

Enterprises must make sure they have the right mix of people, processes, and technology in place to take big bold steps toward an automated future. IT should be part of everyone’s role and everyone should have the tools they need to succeed.

We believe as a society, we have a responsibility to shape the Future of Automation so it can have a positive impact on the lives of everyone. Releasing us from the mundane aspects of our work and personal lives, giving us more time to focus and truly be present in the moment.  In the words of John F Kennedy in his speech as Senator in 1960:

“We have not created new machines so that they can destroy our prosperity and our economic health. Today - as we have done in the past - we must translate our skill and our inventive genius into abundance and strength for a better life for all.’

Stay tuned for the final blog in this series, where we will share step 3: Planning for the Future of Automation, how your business should prepare for the new era of perpetual change.