Is AI necessary to automate processes?

28th June 2024 :: Author: Andrew Cope, Managing Director, Evergreen

Automation has become a buzzword in the modern business world, with artificial intelligence (AI) often touted as the ultimate solution. While AI is undoubtedly a powerful tool, it's important to recognise that it is not always the most appropriate or effective approach for automating every manual business process. There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to integrate AI into your operations, and it’s crucial to understand both its benefits and limitations.

The appeal of AI in automation

AI brings a multitude of advantages to the table. It can process vast amounts of data at remarkable speeds, identify patterns, and make decisions based on that data. This capability is invaluable in various sectors, from healthcare, where AI can assist in diagnosing diseases, to finance, where it can detect fraudulent transactions. The sheer computational power and efficiency AI provides can transform businesses by reducing errors, increasing productivity, and delivering insights that might be missed by human analysts.

However, AI is not a panacea. Its biggest drawback is that it is not human. While this may seem obvious, it is a critical point to consider. True creativity, innovation, and critical thinking are distinctly human traits that AI, in its current state, cannot replicate. These traits are essential in navigating the intricate complexities and unique nuances of different businesses and their processes. As such, relying solely on AI for automation can be a misstep.

The human element in automation

The human touch is indispensable when it comes to effectively automating manual procedures.

Every business has its own set of specific needs, challenges, and workflows that are often too complex for AI to handle without significant human intervention. This is where bespoke software solutions come into play. Tailored to fit the exact requirements of a business, bespoke software can automate labour-intensive processes while allowing staff to retain control and ensure transparency in operations.

Our experience with customers has shown that bespoke software offers substantial benefits. Many businesses have found that while AI can handle repetitive and straightforward tasks, it is the human-led design and implementation of bespoke software that truly transforms their operations. Staff can oversee and adjust the automated processes, ensuring that they align perfectly with the business's goals and adapt as those goals evolve.

One key advantage of bespoke software is its flexibility. Unlike off-the-shelf AI solutions, bespoke software can be modified and refined to address the specificities of a business. This flexibility ensures that automation supports the business rather than forcing the business to adapt to the limitations of the software. Moreover, having staff in control means that they can provide the necessary oversight to ensure the quality and effectiveness of automated processes, something that AI alone might struggle to achieve.

Transparency and control

Another significant benefit of bespoke software is transparency. With AI, there is often a ‘black box’ problem, where the decision-making process is not easily understandable. This lack of transparency can lead to trust issues and difficulties in troubleshooting and improving the system. Bespoke software, on the other hand, is designed with the user in mind. It provides clear and understandable processes, making it easier for staff to monitor and manage the automation.

Transparency is crucial, especially in industries where compliance and accountability are paramount. Businesses need to understand how decisions are made and be able to audit and refine these processes continually. Bespoke software ensures that there is no mystery behind the automation, which builds confidence among staff and stakeholders.

Exploring All Options

If you're considering automating your business processes, it's essential to explore all options. While AI has its place and can offer remarkable benefits, it is not the only tool available. A balanced approach that combines the computational power of AI with the flexibility and human-centric design of bespoke software can often yield the best results.

Begin by assessing your business needs. Identify the processes that are most labour-intensive and consider whether they require the nuanced understanding and flexibility that bespoke software provides or if they can be efficiently handled by AI. Consulting with experts in both AI and bespoke software can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

In conclusion, while AI is a fantastic tool for automation, it is not always the go-to solution. The human touch, provided through bespoke software, is often necessary to navigate the complexities of different businesses and their processes. By combining the strengths of AI with the adaptability and control of bespoke software, businesses can achieve effective and transparent automation.

Are you interested in automating your processes? Let's explore all the options together. Whether it's AI, bespoke software, or a combination of both, we can help you find the solution that best fits your business needs.