Tobias Häckermann

Teasing ideas: automation, rationality and success

13. The number has been in my mind since Monday. Nothing related to folklore or the idea of bad luck. Instead, a hard fact. And the idea that individuals (and organisations) are responsible for their own success.

Even managers spend 13% of their time in tasks that can currently be done by machines.

The figure comes from an article published by HBR and makes the case for automation. Value could be aggregated to personal and professional paths. Imagine if mind-numbing administrative work was relegated to computers. The newly-created time would be invested on far more rewarding activities.

McKinsey goes beyond. It states that, in the US, 45% of work activities could be automated using technology. This increases labour-related ROI, but also means personal gratification. On the sobering words or Uruguay’s former president, José ‘Pepe’ Mujica“When you or I buy something, we do not use money. We are spending the lifespan used to earn that amount. With one difference: you cannot buy more lifetime”. Automation improves company's bottom line while providing leaders better work-life balance. Meaning: spend less for more!

How can automation strengthen organisations?

It is no mystery that three pillars shape successful enterprises — processes, technology and people. Decision effectiveness and business performance are clearly correlated. From the C-suite to the front line. Decision Support Systems (DSS) already suggest solutions to repetitive management problems, at mid-level. So why not bring it further up the ladder?

It is not enough to re-think product development, human resources and IT. Success depends on the wisdom of an essential part of all businesses: the Board of Directors. Experience and expertise are irreplaceable. But Software can empower top-level management. Two examples: by (a) pre-processing data to base rational decisions and (b) reducing time for critical analysis and deliberation.

Quick and consistent decisions, followed by an effective implementation. The coin of the realm for a company to reach its full potential in business. With a secured competitive advantage.

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