7 automation myths debunked

Business process automation has more than its fair share of myths. Some are born of hearsay, some are the product of misunderstanding, and others of incorrect assumptions.

No matter their origin, automation myths cloud the handy tool with confusion. Until they’re dispelled, these misconceptions obscure the benefits that automation has to offer, create false expectations and perpetuate automation confusion. It’s difficult to sort the fruitful from the fanciful.

So, to help, here are 7 of the most prevailing automation myths debunked.

1. It’s too expensive for a small business to access

This is one of the simpler automation myths on this list. It’s the belief that automation software is reserved for big businesses with big budgets. That, as a small business, the costs of automation software are too steep.

In reality, there are many every day, run-of-the-mill expenses that small businesses pay out without batting an eyelid. And the cost of these things would pay for a month’s automation software. Plus, in the long-term, automation can help you cut costs and further productivity.

2. It’s an out-of-the-box product

One of the more common automation myths is that automation software comes as an out-of-the-box solution. That is, you buy it, download it and press go. Job done.

Reality is a little more nuanced. Business process automation software is more of a platform than a product. It’s the fishing rod, not the fish.

Automation software lets you set up your own unique rules, workflows and processes. So, you create the product you want, rather than settling for a cookie-cutter solution. As a result, you need to spend some time telling it what you want it to do.

3. You can forget about it once it’s set up

Once your automation solution is up and running, you don’t need to think about it again. As automation myths go, this one has a small element of truth to it. That is, automation will indeed keep running forever until you tell it to stop.

So, in theory, you can forget about the automation running in the background. That doesn’t mean you should, or that it’s a good idea.

Forgetting about your automation software can cause issues in the future. Outdated processes remain automated, leading to wasted resources or potential legal violations.

4. It can solve all your problems

Another of the common automation myths is the suggestion that automation can do everything. It can solve all your problems, even patch your broken processes.

Automation can do almost anything relating to business processes. But it can’t do everything. Crucially, it can only do the things that you tell it to do. So, if you teach it a broken or faulty process, it will follow the broken or faulty process.

Automation excels at simple tasks and repetitive workflows. It can’t think, make suggestions or draw conclusions — it simply does as it is told.

5. It can’t help in complex infrastructures

So, automation is only useful for simple tasks and workflows, then? It couldn’t possibly help businesses with complex infrastructures and workflows. This is another (and more illogical) of the automation myths.

It’s true that automation cannot handle the complex workflow steps that require human analysis. In other words, it’s not suited to unique, infrequent or unpredictable workflows that need expert decision-making.

However, automation can fit snugly into a complex infrastructure — and even help to simplify it. By breaking complex workflows down into more simple, repetitive tasks, automation software can ease the workload that your team is straining under.

6. It’s the same as AI

Closely related to the previous entry in this list of automation myths is the belief that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are the same thing.

Business process automation is not AI. It is not intelligent. It cannot make decisions, and it doesn’t use machine learning. As a result, it cannot come up with solutions or draw conclusions for you.

7. It’ll take all our jobs

This wouldn’t be much of an automation myths list if it didn’t include the biggest concern around automation software. The belief that automation is going to take all jobs and lead to mass unemployment is another myth.

Automation is going to take some jobs, and drastically change others. But it’s also going to create new jobs and new opportunities. In fact, it already has started creating jobs, such as chatbot copywriter and automation programmer.

Automation myths debunked

There’s uncertainty around the future of automation software, and where the technology is leading. But for now at least, the major automation myths clouding our understanding have been demystified.