Improving Performance with Information and Insight
Published by Lehman Associates

Automation – Going Beyond Efficiency

It seems everyone is talking about automation. In fact, we just did a webinar on Automating Engagement with Higher Logic and their newly acquired services, Informz and Real Magnet.

Digital channels provide exciting opportunities to create more personalized experiences for members and donors, but staff overhead can increase exponentially to make that all work. Automation offers to expand the breath of those personalized interactions while at the same time increasing staff productivity and effectiveness.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the concept of automation itself isn’t anything new. Organizations have been pursuing workflow automation for years, leveraging technology adoption to increase productivity and efficiency. It is equally important to understand that higher stages of automation are not simply extensions of that previous work, but rather represent a major jump in how we think about those processes. That is, while the first stage of automation is to automate a fixed process or workflow, we are now using dynamic elements to modify the process in real-time and do that automatically. The promise is to provide a more personalized experience for the member and donor while increasing the marketing and communications effectiveness of the process for the organization.

We see this as an extension of the shift towards the use of technology for transformation. This reflects a change in thinking about technology that we’ve been presenting and writing about for several years. Adoption of technology to date has been largely focused on improvement of that which we do today to gain efficiencies and productivity. Today, leading organizations in both the commercial and nonprofit sectors are working to leverage technology as a strategic asset to enable them to do things they have never been able to do before. In the process, it transforms how they work and how they engage with customers, members and donors. Technology as a Strategic Asset

Automation certainly plays an important supporting role in process  improvement. It plays a leading role in the use of technology for transformation, going beyond productivity to change how we engage with constituents and how we do business as organizations. Automation is a concept, not a particular technology and changes substantially as it moves from an improvement tool to one for transformation.

We see three stages of automation and will detail that in our next post.