Good Automation Gone Bad?

The title on CIO Insight caught my eye: Doing Automation Right. As a PLM’er, that’s sounded like something I could get behind.

It started as expected, “CIOs should pursue automation as a way to improve processes and workflows,” but then author Sam Greengard threw me a curve ball with “but not let it get in the way of building long-term relationships with customers.” Hm, not what I anticipated but I pressed on.

Greengard went on to say that retailers and other businesses that embraced automation early on are learning that too much of a good thing can be, well, a bad thing. Why? Because customers require human interaction at some point.

Using banks and ATMs as an example, Greengard points out that they are now looking for ways to entice their customers into the actual bank. Locally, Capital One has been promoting their new 360 Cafes where customers get free coffee and WiFi and the opportunity to chat up their banker.

Greengard isn’t against automation all together – thank the gods – rather he cautions CIOs to “stay focused on the big picture: building relationships with customers.” Good advice that should extend to internal “customers”, i.e. employees, as well.

When automating internal processes, CIOs should look for flexible systems that enhance communication and collaboration, rather than stifle it with rigid workflows. They should select systems that can grow and evolve as customer and business needs change. And they should include users and customers in the development and ongoing improvement of those systems.

In the end, Greengard says, “this means relying on the right blend of technology and people to deliver the best possible results in the best possible way at every touch point.”

If you’re looking to improve automation and collaboration throughout your product development processes, I invite you to discover the many benefits of Aras PLM. Get to know us at

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