The Trouble With Automation

March 1, 2006

I’m all for automating processes to help make businesses more efficient. I certainly wouldn’t be able to do half of what I do without automation. Whenever efficiency gets in the way of effectiveness, however, automation becomes a danger.

Every now and then I get something that points this out. Recently I received this form letter from my doctor’s office:

I appreciate my doctor’s willingness to let me spread out my $10.00 over three months, but somehow I don’t think that was their intention.

This is a humorous example of letting automation get in the way of your intent. No harm, no foul, and my doctor and I had a good laugh about it (she even told me not to worry about paying it).

It made me think, though. Where am I misusing automation? Where is “high tech” getting in the way of “high touch?” You may want to think about it too.

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