The scary thing about automation

By Tobin Harris, April 8, 2019

Managing Director at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Building Effective Apps Driving Productivity 

I was chatting to three business leaders the other day about how their construction business is experiencing considerable growth and how they really need to automate how they work in order to scale efficiently.

In this case, part of automation means using mobile apps to streamline how their field engineers are working.

They’re on a tight deadline because they’ve got a new contract that will double their workload, and they believe that mobile apps and tech can really help them be more efficient.

The nice thing about phone calls, emails and paperwork

They went on to explain how the whole idea of automation is scary. Scary because they have to agree and lock down their processes so they can be automated.

They explained that, when you use paper and emails and phone calls, you can tweak the process and it has a good about of “flex”. In the construction industry, this is desirable, and perhaps it’s why the industry has been slow to modernise.

So, we got talking about how businesses can react to change whilst also adopting modern tech. In this case, they’re building bespoke apps to speed up their exact process, so they can carry on doing business in the way they have discovered works for them and their customers.

Business agility is about reacting to new information

This immediately bought the idea of agility to mind. Yup, it’s a buzzword, but it fits. If you want to be able to react to change, using new information to improve how you operate, then agility is a clear way to do that. Agility is about taking action and responding to change, and removing impediments. For example, small companies are often more agile because they have less procedures and red tape to navigate when it comes to making changes.

How can tech keep up with the agile business?

For businesses that rely more and more on digital technology, the question is: how do you keep the business agile when it’s bound to tech, which is notoriously slow and expensive to change?

You might have guessed it, you need agile tech teams to support you. Agile development teams generally plan for change. They expect the business to learn new things and want to change. And they facilitate fast changes in tech by organising themselves in a certain way. That’s beyond the scope of this brain dump, but seriously, if you want to be agile in business, you need to build or work with agile development teams.

These days, everyone claims to be agile, but there are some tests that cut through the fakers. I’ll talk about that another time, but feel free to email me if you’re interested to learn more.