Creative automation is already a hot topic in the workplace. According to Gartner, 90% of organisations will have an automation architect by 2025 (a competent resource to manage automation within a workplace). That's up from the current 20% we see today.
With this widespread adoption, though, comes new challenges. And while there's plenty of information online about how businesses can benefit from creative automation, there's a notable lack of information on dealing with the hurdles it can present.
In this article, we're looking to address these challenges by covering the main issues and headaches you might run into after investing in creative automation.
7 tips for troubleshooting creative automation issues:
It is always valuable to bring in-house talent into your workplace and for creative automation you will benefit from experts based in your organisation.For the commercial lead working with creative automation whether in product, category management, sales or marketing, coordinate with your technology peers to ensure your teams have the help they need.
Perhaps there is someone from the technology team who can be assigned to be on hand to train, monitor and support creative automation needs, handling only the more complex issues and system updates. But it really depends on organisational needs, particularly if there isn’t capacity within the technology team or if a significant amount of support is needed. A commercial need might prefer to recruit a full time role to provide support through For the technology lead, you will need someone on your team trained up to troubleshoot issues, improve your automation setup and provide advice on managing your system.
As with any technology solution, creative automation is going to require maintenance. Every time a software application, service, application programming interface (API), or operating system is updated, there's a chance that it's going to break your automation setup. Maybe you and your staff can become the automation experts yourselves, but this may not always be feasible.Automation talent is a niche for now. As the tech becomes more widely adopted, though, it'll be easier to bring specialist competence into your team from the pool of automation talent. It’ll also be hugely beneficial to bring your IT department into the conversation. Find out what they recommend; they may even have someone in their team who can offer the support needed.
In its change management doctrine, McKinsey argues that “leaders must give employees a sense of ownership in the process, as well as the energy needed to change”. And this is achieved by investing in adequate training for employees and involving them in the ongoing evolution of workplace tech as it transforms.Ask your team what they are most curious about when it comes to creative automation. Ask them what they fear; what makes them worry that their working days might get harder or more complicated during the change. Then design a training program that puts those productivity concerns to rest.
Anyone who's worked on the back-end of software knows how critical documentation is. Creative automation is no different. Having thorough documentation on how things work, what your dependencies are (that is, the order in which your tasks and processes flow) and how your routines can be updated, is crucial. Recorded documentation will also allow your automation support team a way to record the workflows they’ve built, making it easier and quicker to train new staff and giving your non-technical staff an easy help resource. To get the best documentation, make sure that your creative automation is documented as it's being implemented. Writing it in terms that lay people can understand is best; a technical writer can help you accomplish this.
One challenge that businesses can understandably overlook is the anxiety that creative automation might bring your teams. Any new technology can be difficult for existing staff to get on board with. Hosting a training day can be useful for mitigating these concerns. Give your team time to adapt to the new tech, ask questions and understand its benefits. Implementing a feedback system is another option, as it'll give voice to team members that are struggling to adjust to the change. You can also share the feedback with your solution provider, as the information can be helpful for their innovation, future releases and improvement processes.
Every business adopting creative automation will already have existing, or what is known as legacy workflows and systems in place. As such, it can be tempting to treat automation as a bandage solution or an external system to automate your legacy system. An off-process approach like this may even feel faster and require fewer changes to your existing workflows. However, it will also likely double your maintenance needs. So if it isn’t already, bring it into your existing workflows, the same way that “spell check” is a part of your word processor, or the way that you use the same interface to both write and send an email. Integrate creative automation into your existing apps, services and workflows as best you can. Don't treat it like a middle-man or an outsider — strive to make it as "in-process" as possible.
AI and automation are ideal for simplifying and streamlining repetitive tasks, it’s also getting pretty good at predicting inputs and aiding decision making. But your teams needn’t feel threatened by workplace automation and the drive to digitally transform certainly shouldn’t be adding to their workload either.Your creative teams were hired to be, well, creative! That’s something creative automation can’t replicate today — and for marketing and creative teams, it’ll never take that over. What your objective should be instead is finding the right balance of automation and manual working in your business.When done right, creative automation can unlock even greater creativity as your teams are freed up from laborious, non-essential activities. Look at your entire creative workflow and identify the tasks where automation adds value (large-scale editing of assets, for example) and where your teams’ creative minds can be further employed.
As you scale up your automation strategy, the number of automation issues you encounter will naturally scale up as well. These issues will compound with time as well, as apps, APIs, services and operating systems become out of date and out of sync. That's where technology auditing comes in. Just like you would with your network and cybersecurity needs, you should be auditing your automation solutions. Run tests on them, make sure that they're updated with the latest integrations and strategies. Stay on top of incoming updates for your apps, services, etc., and keep tabs on issues/complaints from your team. Your technology provider will support you with this.
Tackle creative automation with confidence
For more information, you can read up on our Guide to Creative Automation. You can also get in touch with us to see how our team can both support your automation transformation and keep you supported as you scale with our solutions.