Automation strategy: Five Questions CIOs Should Ask

April 12, 2022

Is your automation strategy future-focused? Consider these five questions to stay on the right track

1. How does this connect with our overall goals?

The first question is most logical – but often overlooked if your automation has been a series of one-offs to this point in your organization.

Consider a broad-based goal (that you can replace with your own specific goals) to “increase innovation.” Essentially, all of your incremental automation work, from new technology adoption to process changes to hiring and more, should ask: “Does this help us increase innovation?” (Again, replace “increase innovation” with any specific goal and the same principle applies.)“

If the answer is yes, then automation is great for the business,” Trevino says.​​

If the answer is “no” or “we’re not sure,” then you’ve got more due diligence ahead. Trevino cautions against the magician approach: Automation success depends on well-coordinated effort, not smoke and mirrors.

2. What causes frustration and headaches for people today?

The incremental approach to automation that Haff described above is often a matter of people solving their own problems: This task takes up too much of my time or is otherwise aggravating – let’s automate it so that I can work on other stuff.

The same principle can guide higher-level thinking about automation priorities. How can automation cut down on drudgery in people’s jobs, while likely reducing the margin for error and other benefits in the process?“

CIOs should seek out areas that cause frustration or angst among their employee base,” says Puneet Mehta, founder and CEO of Netomi. “Eliminating these will have a positive impact on the culture.”

3. How will the team react to this?

Don’t assume everyone will embrace automation with open arms, even if you’re following the advice in #2. Job security concerns are one big reason, but there are other culture challenges as well. ”The best automation approaches make existing employees feel like they’ve been given a superpower.”

When evaluating automation decisions, consider how the outcomes will likely be received by the team. You don’t need to be a management savant to discern that you want people to embrace automation; if you’re going to have to force-feed changes, that’s a red flag.

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