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The five pitfalls of Automation in the service-desk sector

by David Poole | 3 mins read
  1.  First mistake: Starting with the Technology

Transformation and change is hardly ever about the technology. In fact I would say that the choice of technology should be somewhere towards the end of strategic decision making. Perhaps that makes me a fox in the hen-house talking to service desk professionals?

The first part of the process must be to fully understand the strategy of the business and what change it wants to bring about in terms of its market and its customers, not just in the short term but in the long distant future as well.

If you don’t have a clearly defined “North Star” for the business how would know if your projects are aligned with that strategy?

I know it’s boring and this may be old school but defining the requirements before choosing the technology solution is still the way to go.  It can be really embarrassing to select a tool that doesn’t do what you need it to do and even more embarrassing having to look around for problems that your chosen solution can fix.


  1. Second mistake: Forgetting the Customer Experience

Technology is only part of the story, you also need to get the customer experience right. Too often companies focus on the technology and forget about the experience of the end customer.

You have to remember that technology is only a tool.  In the modern digital enterprise, everything must ultimately be about delivering a service to the end customer, yet we often neglect to look at the customer journey.

I remember recently trying to open a business account at a well-known High Street bank. I had a classic “the computer say no” moment and was asked to come to the branch in 3 days.  On the way in a taxi I had opened an account with a digital bank, had received my account number and had deposited funds. Since then I have opened several further accounts with the digital bank and recommended them to friends.  That other bank just get named in my presentations.

So often we see processes and systems designed by technologists that may seem logical and well-designed from a company process or systems perspective but ultimately may create the wrong outcome.


  1. Third mistake: Forgetting the Employee Experience

Managing change is one of the most critical aspects of any automation project. If you don't manage change properly, it can lead to chaos and confusion within the organisation. It's important to have a clear plan for managing change and to be open and honest about what the objectives are and to make sure everyone is on board.

You may consider that automation would be threatening to employees but actually as long as communication is clear and well managed it is surprising how supportive employees can be in designing ways to eliminate those repetitive, boring and error prone robotic tasks that we design into business processes to fill the gaps between the systems we implement.

Service oriented staff love nothing better than to provide good service and in doing so creating human connections.  It’s very hard to do that and have a 15 step cut and paste across multiple application windows.


  1. Fourth mistake: Random Acts of Automation

What we mean by this, is the uncoordinated, often opportunistic selection of automation tasks. This tactical and/or short-term deployment creates a wild-west of projects running inside businesses, often without clear objectives and disconnected to each other, making it near on impossible to scale or adopt more widely within the business.

And this random automation of existing poor processes really only ever amplifies the failings of a bad process.

It’s crucial to think of automation at a strategic level and to consider the bigger picture – taking into account the business’s North Star.

Don’t forget, just because you can automate a process, doesn’t mean you should!


  1. Biggest Mistake of all: Procrastination

Another common challenge that organisations face during a transformation project is decision paralysis.

This happens when too many people are involved in the decision-making process and no one can agree on what to do. This can slow down the project and cause frustration among team members.

Time and time again we see clients sitting on the fence struggling to prioritise, distracted by the day to day.

When it comes to automation, every day you delay is a day with less benefits, better experiences and better return.

Money is a renewable resource –time is not!


Find out how we can help define your North Star HERE and set your automation strategy HERE