People are smart to question the future of automation, for it has become part of everything we do. With the number of applications and technology around us, we yet still crave more. We become convinced of its power when our package is delivered from Amazon Prime, containing the items we were simply browsing for that morning. The entire process is a product of automation—from the visualization on the screen, to the ordering and then the delivery of a perfect product right before you.
Today’s economy, in which goods and services are rapidly delivered throughout the world, would not be possible without automation. Just getting down to everyday activity, when we run low on milk or other grocery items, we can simply click a few boxes on a supermarket website and have them delivered within a few hours.
Another radical change in our daily lives has come about in driving a car. I remember in the old days when I rented a car in a strange city and had to open up a big paper map to figure out where I was going and hope I wouldn’t miss an exit and have to backtrack. Today this is no problem at all—your GPS navigation system will tell you exactly which exit to take and when it’s coming up.
There are, of course, many other examples.
Why Automation is Crucial
As the world moves ever faster, automation becomes increasingly essential in saving time. Automation can take care of many tasks that we no longer have to, so that we can attend more important matters.
We can take a look at the number of tasks that, for many, no longer exist because automation has taken them over. Hardly anyone remembers what life was like without a washing machine, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have one or at least has access to one (such as with a laundromat).
Just as a side note, and as a sort of preview of what will come later, there were people who had jobs taking care of laundry. Has the automation of laundry done away with jobs? Not at all—it has created new ones in laundry and dry cleaning enterprises.
Another invention that many would not live without is the dishwasher. In the old days, how many of us dreaded a huge dinner party, because we had to wash all those dishes afterward? It, like the washing machine, has become another enormously time-saving device.
Automation In Business and Sales
What does automation mean to us in business and in sales? Essentially, it means that no application can any longer be isolated in its own little world. Applications—as well as devices—must be interconnected, so that data can flow across an enterprise. When all is said and done, that data must be at our fingertips, no matter where we are in the organization. In the old days, we programmed connectors between applications and devices, at considerable expense and effort. Today, we’re in the dawning of an age where this is no longer necessary.
Unfortunately, a lack of interconnection can show up in the most inconvenient ways. Recently I was in an airport in Sydney, Australia and had to purchase a power connector so I could charge my phone because Australia has a different power system than the U.S. To me this is a little bit crazy—why do we have a different power system for every country? On airlines, they do solve this, with multiple connectors.
In any case, I don’t think we’ll make it very far into the future until it is possible to literally connect everything. In this series of articles, we will explore this more deeply and how CRM actually plays a central role in automation and interconnection. More broadly, we’ll take a look at the different concepts of automation that are out there, which make sense and which will not be profitable or successful.
Best of Breed
Many want to have a holistic “all-in-one” type of approach to business issues, following along the line of Microsoft and it’s suite of office solutions under the Office umbrella. But today, because interconnection is such a viable option, you can connect to the best of breed for many of your solutions.
The other side of this coin is the infinite number of applications and solutions out there that don’t integrate. Developers of such solutions had better change now or risk failure.
As we go through this series, we’ll discuss how automation has impacted these choices and how the right choice of a CRM means being able to integrate with your favorite applications.
Finally, I say that no, we do not believe that automation—and further along, artificial intelligence and robotics—will replace people. This is another topic we’ll take up at length as we go, but for now, suffice it to say that automation is enabling and creating new jobs. Additionally, I believe that automation will empower the human aspect of life, not lessen or remove it.
Come with me on this journey to discover how automation is not replacing life, but enhancing it!