Here on the frontlines there’s one clear trend that is not being talked about: when it comes to automation, vendors are making unrealistic promises and clients are blindly falling for them.
According to several well-regarded industry sources who spoke to Nearshore Americas in recent weeks, some external software providers have been tarnishing the industry’s reputation by focusing on closing the big automation deals instead of ensuring their deliverables are up to scratch.
Automation is being sold as this fancy, top-of-the-range solution that only requires an initial investment to get it implemented. The reality is that there are extra costs involved after the fact, which isn’t always disclosed from the start.
Vendors are also trying to skip the due diligence phase, when companies determine what is feasible to automate, because they’re making bank from uniformed clients. This is a toxic approach to business that clients need to be aware of…but those on the buy-side also have a role in this practice.
Clients have been guilty of jumping headfirst into automation contracts without insisting on this due diligence phase, or without a large enough understanding of what it is they need to automate.
Whether they choose to automate through internal software or an external service provider, many clients are simply unwilling to invest time and money into the initial effort. Instead, they focus on the “quick win”, which is quite simply a terrible decision for the long-term health of the company.
Part of the reason for this is leadership. CEOs across the board can commonly have a fairly short life cycle at the top – around two or three years – so they only have a small window in which to deliver strong results and save the company some money, which looks great on their CVs.
This causes a deep misalignment and conflict of interest, as the CEO is aiming to boost his or her career with phrases like “I saved the company 40% in my final year”, instead of strengthening the company’s long-term position with a functioning, far-reaching automation plan.
Instead of relying on the c-suite to get automation in place, companies need specific objectives and independent sponsors to validate a long-term strategic alignment.
Remember that your customers are watching, so if you start speeding off down the street in a brand new automation convertible, chance are they’ll be there to see you crash it, but won’t stick around to pull you out of the wreckage.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Companies that are guilty of jumping too quickly into automation often start making it known to the world before they do enough prototyping, which in the short and long term costs them more money, as those responsible will often be laid off for making brash decisions.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of companies out there that have successfully implemented automation solutions and are ramping it up across the enterprise, but their approach was calm, calculated, and conservative.
In order to avoid these pitfalls, take your time to think things through, look at the processes across the company that could add value if automated, be honest about the constraints and risks that you face, and above all, ensure you use a prototype in an enclosed environment before announcing to the world that you’ve become the next great innovator by adopting automation.
Follow these rules and other companies will follow suit, which will naturally give automation a better reputation and lead vendors to reign in their false promises.
What good or bad experiences have you had with vendors in the rush to automation? As a client, what could you have done better in your implementation of the tech? Sound off in the comments below.