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Why Do Automation Projects Fail?

Updated: Jun 26



More companies are choosing to embrace the future and accept automation, but that is not to say that automation projects are a guaranteed success. As with any project, things can go wrong.


When technology rollouts fail the result can be detrimental. It costs time, money and public opinion. It is common to see a backlash on Twitter when a mobile network goes down or an online banking system fails. In the current climate where social media posts spread like wildfire and customers demand immediate solutions, businesses do not want to see their projects fail. When things do go awry, it means a necessary and time-consuming step backwards to try it all over again.


When done with the right people, knowledge and technology, we reduce the risk of failure. However, starting a digital transformation project has its challenges. Not being well equipped to tackle and mitigate risk means that we are left unprepared to deal with what may arise further down the line. Automation projects often fail because companies plan their automation strategy before understanding the multiple layers within the process. Jumping into a project without the expertise to determine what to automate and how to do it becomes an issue. Companies may use free software to get the ball rolling in assessing the value of automation. Without automation knowledge, the wrong technology is implemented which causes problems or underwhelming results, setting the business back with the automation opportunity. In working with an expert to define a strategy, companies can objectively review their processes and systems, considering the impact to their employees, and understand what the desired outcomes are. From this point, businesses are well equipped to choose the best supplier.


In all the noise surrounding automation, it is easy to partner with the wrong technology and supplier. Choosing the right approach takes time, but it is more likely to offer success and maximise the value a company can get from an automation project. We have all been promised a product that will go above and beyond our expectations and surpass any other in the market. Sometimes this is delivered, but at other times these promises leave us disappointed with the end result. Projects fail because services are oversold, leaving the company with a sting of buyer’s remorse and the task of searching for yet another answer to their problems. When investing in a product we try to ensure that our money is well spent. We would rather not kick ourselves for investing in the hype rather than the device. Finding a supplier that can work closely with you means a bespoke solution tailored to your needs, avoiding disappointment in the end result.



So, the implementation of an automation project can have its pitfalls, and the risk of failure is avoidable but prevalent. Once the project has been implemented, the tech works and the supplier has delivered some automation, the project could still disappoint. This arises when businesses do not consider those who will be affected in the long run. Of course, businesses consider value and cost objectives. How can we improve customer satisfaction? How can we save time and money? But, what about the employees? There is often a resistance and anxiety surrounding change because the employee is not always considered as part of the digital transformation process. Employees are there before and after automation. They make the processes work initially, plugging the gaps that automation should resolve. They continue as human drivers throughout. Automating processes means that the nature of work may evolve, and the workforce needs to evolve too. Projects fail when companies do not consider the journey that employees embark on with automation. The failure here is in seeing the automation project purely as an IT project. Automation is about the business, its processes, and crucially its people.


Automation projects fail for a number of reasons. From the wrong tech and suppliers, to overlooking the impact on the workforce. Having a great supplier is highly influential in achieving success. By capitalising on automation supplier expertise, the best projects are selected. Solutions are planned and implemented to success criteria agreed at the outset. A successful automation project requires thought-out execution and an excellent supplier to deliver exactly what is needed. Automation projects have failed in the past, but with the right partner who can maximise the value of what intelligent automation has to offer, they no longer need to.


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#automation #digitaltransformation #rpa #smartflow

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