We automatize things since the very beginning of human history. The windmills powered by the water coming down the rivers can be considered as an automation to process seeds. A lot of discussions have been growing lately due to the automation factor. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have already pronounced themselves about the impacts of the recent automation initiatives.
Talking about recent IT projects, a comment I’m very used to hear from many groups of people is the question about what will happen with people’s current labor.
The automation always existed
As mentioned on the article “A vision about IT evolution“, the IT was always faced as an arm for automation. Since it was created until today, we are used to automatize sheets so the work can be done in a decentralized way. Many people working on the same activity creates the need for a system. When its built they can communicate and get advantages of each other information. E.g.: The guys from logistics have to warn people at the gates to allow the trucks to go out when they are done loading. If there wasn’t a system to help, someone calling other person every 5 minutes would be needed, or even someone running through the whole plant during the day.
But the industry focus was kept inside the industry for many years, since the companies were who had machines and money to buy them.
Now it changed its scale
Nowadays everyone has a smartphone, and internet. With that, many new business were created. Now the automation, and new businesses, can reach millions of people easily.
- Uber came and created a business model that connects customers to suppliers. Uber, iFood, Archie and many others get benefits from that. There is no intermediate involved anymore.
- Digital banks – How people face money today? The agencies can be found empty easily nowadays due to the move of convenience at people’s hands. Big banks from Brazil don’t have ATMs anymore.
- Retail – people get bored when they go to malls or stores because of many things. There is too many people competing for attention, the lines are stressing and there is always the risk on moving from their places to the stores. We can’t neglect that the biggest store of every retail brand is the online one.
As stated by the speeches of Gates and Zuckerberg, many people may face a change of their jobs. They can become obsolete due to this market change. But whenever a change come, many opportunities are brought with it. The responsibility of big companies and entrepreneurs, whenever they automatize something, is to let people do what machines can’t: think. Automation will bring several benefits:
- Quality – every process will be ran in the same way. Then improving that single point will improve all of the processes executions;
- Predictability – with maturity you will know what to expect from your tools. Then you can plan in advance;
- Time savings – standardization brings speed naturally. Lets improve the single point to take the best allowed performance;
- Metrics – using practices of telemetry, you can get metrics to take decisions about which point you should improve first;
- Reduced costs – having all the benefits above, the direct ROI will be found easily;
For the companies and entrepreneurs, automation means saving money in a process. The people who will have their time saved already have a lot of knowledge on the business and on the process. Their new responsibility is to research and think on ways to improve the processes. Machines still can’t think like people.
During recent years, we faced a new mindset talking about services providers getting ease to find their customers. Uber, iFood, etc are examples of a business model created by one of the steps of automation history. When we talk about large scale automation, one of the steps to come has the blockchain influence. What it does is to remove the intermediates of handling money process, making one edge getting to another without assistance, and in this way money is saved. It also has potential to affect things not only related to money. What can be the next industries affected by automation at this scale?