Why NOT to be afraid of automation!
IT News

Somewhere in a dystopian future, all our jobs have been taken by robotic machines, powered by Artificial Intelligence, and us mere mortals are under the oppression of these technological overlords.

This is extreme foreshadowing is in all honestly, unlikely. Granted, there is fare warning for the wholesale reliance on AI and machine learning, and quite rightly, the potential misuse having grave consequences. However, if we wield these tools with due diligence, there’s plenty of rewards to reap, namely automation.

Automation is arguably a reduced or dumbed down version of AI, as the tasks that are due to be completed have ultimately been written or set prior to any non-human influence. However, this isn’t to say that automation is not an incredibly useful tool.

Let’s say you have a repetitive, monotonous task that takes a long time to complete and is not an ideal use of your workday. A good example would be formatting multiple items in Excel. With the use of Macros, 5-6 long winded and energy sapping tasks can be completed using a simple click or keyboard keystroke. A bare-bones example, but demonstrates the power of automation, nonetheless.

Essentially, automation is worth heeding if you find there’s never enough hours in the day. Why should you spend time on items or tasks that aren’t always efficient or relevant? You need to be spending time on crucial matters, not focusing on applying a colour scheme to every new document you create. Automation is your friend, and one that is now accessible more than ever, on a multitude of platforms.

Many CRM systems will involve some level automation to achieve results, and you’ll be given some level of control over this. Automation is applicable in a variety of circumstances, which really helps when it’s accessible at the touch of a button. Microsoft Flow is just one good example. Being included as part of the Power Platform within Office 365, Flow connects to a large list of Microsoft related resources as well as a generous amount of third party services to give you an unprecedented wealth of options to select from. In its most purest form, Flow will conduct an action based on a condition you set. For example, if you receive an email with an attachment, Flow can save that attachment to your OneDrive for later access. Whilst this is a straightforward two-step approach, once you lift the lid on Flow, there are lots of complex combinations you can create to deliver exceedingly streamlined results.

There are of course lots of alternative resources that you can use to achieve similar results, but Flow stands out because of its rich Office 365 integration. Some items will require you to grant access to various levels of your Office 365 environment, but this is highly secure, and any requests will normally be within the Microsoft ecosystem.

Flow is an excellent place to begin your automation journey, and as aforementioned, with it being included as part of Office 365, it’s readily available now to dive in and start working. Alternatively, if you’d prefer an informal chat around how Flow can work best for you, please get in touch and we’ll point you in the right direction. You can reach of us on 01843 572 600.