Top 5 Challenges to Fully Automating a Manual Process

Posted on Dec 03, 2023
Top 5 Challenges to Fully Automating a Manual Process

Fully automating a manual process can be a complex task, and various challenges may arise during the implementation. Here are five common challenges:

Process Complexity:

Many manual processes involve intricate decision-making, nuanced judgment, or handling exceptions that are challenging to replicate in an automated system. Complex workflows may require advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, which can be difficult to design and implement.

The more complex a system becomes, the more important it is to obtain a high level of accuracy for each system.  Take for example an AI process which reads text from a sign. You might need to 1) identify the sign in the picture, 2) apply the appropriate filters to enhance the contrast of the text, 3) identify the blocks of text (words or lines of text), and 4) apply the system which reads text.  Each one of those stages has a level of accuracy and it’s true that you are only as strong as your weakest link but let’s take the scenario where each level is 95% accurate.  Pretty good right?  Well maybe not when you consider each accuracy gets multiplied together for a total accuracy of 81.5%. Now imagine what happens when the process gets more complicated.

Data Quality and Availability:

Automation often relies on accurate and timely data. If the data used in the manual process is inconsistent, incomplete, or unreliable, it can hinder the effectiveness of automation. Data cleaning, validation, and ensuring data accessibility are critical steps in the automation process.

Integration with Existing Systems:

In many cases, manual processes are part of a larger system with interconnected components. Integrating automation into existing systems can be a significant challenge, especially if there are legacy systems or disparate technologies. Compatibility issues and the need for seamless data flow between different systems must be addressed.

Change Management and Resistance:

Employees accustomed to manual processes may resist automation due to fear of job loss, lack of understanding, or concerns about the reliability of automated systems. Change management strategies are crucial to address these concerns, including training programs, clear communication about the benefits of automation, and involving employees in the transition process.

Security and Compliance:

Automated processes often deal with sensitive data, and ensuring the security of this data is paramount. Meeting regulatory compliance standards adds an extra layer of complexity. Designing automation systems with robust security features, encryption, and compliance measures is essential to prevent data breaches and legal issues.

Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves a combination of technological solutions, organizational strategies, and effective communication. Additionally, it's important to conduct thorough testing and pilot programs to identify and resolve issues before implementing full-scale automation.

Back to Blog