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Common Automation mistakes and how companies can avoid them

As businesses increasingly lean towards technology, automation’s role is becoming more important than ever. It has revolutionized the way companies operate, and its benefits are universally acknowledged across industries.

From streamlined processes to reduced cost, greater productivity, and new prosperity, the reasons for adopting automation are plentiful. Newer low-code or no-code technologies like Atomatik’s Enterprise Automation Platform have eliminated the barriers between business users and technology, ultimately revolutionizing the way we work and do business.

Automation is not a single technology, but rather an orchestra of several, including RPA, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML) and AI.

Despite the many positives offered by automation, the road to seamless integration and operation can have its pitfalls. These are costly mistakes that hinder the potential of the technology and can cause damage to an organization. They can also impact executive trust in automation, which in the medium-long term can have an even greater impact on the company’s position in the market.

Famous automation failures include the 2012 Knight Capital Group’s spending spree, when an automated high-frequency trading platform caused a $7 billion mistake in just one hour of trading, putting the company out of business. Google also experienced what they later called a “catastrophic failure” in 2019, when the Google Cloud Platform’s automation software interrupted services for almost 4 hours, impacting brands like Snapchat and Shopify.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common automation mistakes organizations can make and provide alternatives that have been successful for companies that are reaping the benefits of automation at scale.

Automating bad processes

It’s not unusual for companies to adopt automation just because their competition is doing it. In a permanent race to win customers, onboarding new technology with a box-ticking mentality can cause a massive negative impact. Process automation, just like any other digitalization initiative, needs to have a strong strategic foundation. If an organization’s existing processes are not performing well before automation, it is highly likely they will cause disruptions after implementing an automation solution. Although it can feel like a magic wand that suddenly frees a lot of time and resources for employees, automation is not a quick fix for existing issues.

How to avoid it

A thorough internal review and upkeep of internal processes are vital before committing to any automation solution. Sometimes companies are unaware that tasks and operations could be simplified, and this is where a process discovery phase can be helpful. Together with a reliable provider, the organization can identify existing issues and tackle them internally before tapping into the benefits of the automation platform.

Lack of synergy

Automation can be used as an isolated solution for one department, but it is much more powerful when integrated into several, well-coordinated systems. If for example, finance has one isolated solution and procurement uses another, without a holistic strategy, there is bound to be trouble down the road.

How to avoid it

Ideally, process automation should be viewed end-to-end. Let’s use a hypothetical example of a fully automated process that can be done with intelligent automation platforms like Atomatik. A company receives regular invoices. It can appoint Optical Character Recognition to extract data from them and transfer it to an AI component. Artificial intelligence will then recognize the type of data from each invoice and assign them accordingly. It will then forward the data to an RPA module to post the transactions.

It's important to know that not all the components of an intelligent automation solution need to be implemented simultaneously. Adoption can be done gradually, starting with RPA for instance, to complete standard rule-based tasks, followed by an integration of AI.

Poor communication with the workforce

Employing an intelligent automation solution will have a significant impact on any organization and its people. There is currently an overflow of messaging about the changes that AI will bring to the workforce, causing concern among employees. An opaque environment can breed anxiety about job security and lead employees to look for other opportunities.

How to avoid it

The news about any new technology should be prompt, transparent, and followed by a steady stream of communication and training programs. Companies that excel at harnessing the power of automation understand that people remain their most valuable resource and technology is onboarded as a servant. They make sure their employees are constantly updated and involved in the digitalization strategy.

Lack of trust

It’s difficult to achieve the successful integration of an automation platform with little confidence in the project. It’s also understandable, as many early adopters were not properly supported by vendors or have made one or more mistakes that ultimately lead to abandoning automation. But in today’s competitive environment, automation has transitioned from a new, nice-to-have tool to a necessity.

How to avoid it

Building trust in automation can be done in multiple ways, but thorough market research is mandatory. Choosing the right provider will have a powerful effect in restoring trust and ultimately benefiting from a successful automation project. Here is a guide to help companies in their selection process.

Failing to Define Clear Goals and Objectives

We saved one of the biggest ones for last. Without a clear understanding of what they want to achieve with automation, companies risk implementing a system that does not meet their needs or provide the desired benefits. Again, this can be a reactive answer to what the competition is doing or growing trends. But simply adding digital workers to a workforce without an elaborate plan is likely to backfire.

How to avoid it

To avoid this mistake, companies should take the time to define their goals and objectives for automation before they begin the implementation process. They should also communicate these goals and objectives to all stakeholders, including employees, to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.


Automation is a very powerful, industry-agnostic tool that can provide many substantial business benefits if done right. This is by no means a closed list, as each automation project will have its specifics and potential errors. But remembering a handful of guidelines, like defining clear objectives, starting with small-scale projects, and keeping employees involved will help organizations avoid these pitfalls and more.

We at Atomatik believe intelligent automation serves as a significant solution provider to a wide range of business issues, and our approach to every project is a thoroughly analytical one, to ensure our customers make the best decisions for their companies.

We hope you found this article useful. If you have specific questions or want to learn more about what Atomatik can do for your organization, book a call with our sales team.


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