Is writing your own automation scripts sustainable?

You can automate an enterprise through a dedicated automation tool, or DIY by writing your own scripts.

Writing your own automation scripts is a tempting option; it’s cheap and quick, after all. And when you’re starting out, or you’re a developer, or it’s only a small process, scripts make sense.

But when it comes to the rest of your business automation needs, scripts might start to lose their lustre.

So, is writing your own scripts a sustainable practice?

Writing your own scripts

Automation scripts are essentially a list of commands that run line-by-line. If you know how to write scripts, they’re a useful tool for automating procedures or actions.

Related to macros, scripts are great for small-scale automation efforts. They’re particularly useful for automating the behaviour of system programs. As such, they’re typically the most useful for programmers.

Your own scripts are always going to be the cheap and fast option for automation. (Provided, that is, you’ve got the know-how.)

But there’s a problem: automation scripts are not as sustainable long-term as automating via a dedicated solution.

So, as useful as they are, they just aren’t the most efficient solution for businesses.

The problem

The problem with writing scripts is maintenance and scaling. Scripts are, in simplest terms, code.

This means that they take time and know-how to write, including:

  • Scripting language
  • Workflow processes, actions, escalations, and affected team members
  • Application integration data, APIs etc.

Once the automation scripts are written, maintaining and evolving them becomes a hassle. It requires your developers to work with someone else’s (old) code. And even the best developers aren’t always great at working with someone else’s code.

Plus, the more automation scripts you have, the more awkward they’ll be to manage. They operate separately from each other, they might not all follow the same structure, and they could be easier to forget about.

In short, while automation scripts are the quick and cheap option to start with, they don’t stay that way. When it’s time to expand your automation efforts, grow your business, or change your processes, scripts become a major hurdle.

The better option

The other option for business automation is a dedicated tool. With business process automation software, you get easy-to-use, scalable automation.

For a start, you don’t need the same know-how as with automation scripts. With a low or no-code BPA tool, that tool becomes the language as such. This means that a dedicated automation tool makes it easier to pass automated processes to non-coders. So, the impacted team members have a better chance to understand and support your automation efforts.

In other words, a dedicated automation tool makes automation more accessible to more employees.

In turn, this makes for a more agile and more sustainable automation strategy. More people can help with maintenance, and with suggesting processes for automation.

Additionally, a dedicated, central system makes it easier to monitor and maintain your automation. It enables small, fast, regular improvements that ensure your processes (and your business,) stay up-to-date and running smoothly.

Automation scripts: good, but unsustainable

It’s not a question of if you’ll outgrow your automation scripts, but when.

Scripts are a useful tool to start with. But it’s only a matter of time before your business needs call for a dedicated automation tool.

So, whether you choose to begin with scripts, or start as you mean to go on, you’ll need a dedicated automation tool.

Useful links

Automation tools: which do you need?

How to start your business process automation journey

How to apply lean thinking principles to improve business process automation