Every day I encounter another article or two discussing the impact of automation on jobs. I’m sure most people are hearing or reading about such things, but outside of IT, do they really understand how blindingly fast computers can go, performing flawlessly (once programming has been tested and perfected) without tiring? And the IT guys, do they understand that eventually, they will be impacted? I think the regular people understands how they will be impacted but I’m not sure the IT guys do. The IT guys seem just arrogant enough to think they won’t be impacted.
Last week I created another automation program to generate reports from payroll data that the HR department had been producing themselves. The person who had been producing it had been complaining about the tediousness of the activity and how much time it was taking to produce. At first, the generation of one or two reports was simple enough to do but she is now up to 33 reports and the production is taking about two hours to do. Now with the automated program in place, the 33 reports are done in about one to two minutes.
From two hours to one to two minutes. That’s frightening. Now multiply that to everything we do. We can’t compete.
Of course, this automated report works only if the input data comes in the same way every time. I only had one set of data to work with, so in the future, if the person who sends us the data decides to put things out of order, the program won’t work. Already, on Friday, I saw the new set of data had a slightly different layout. Fortunately, the new layout wasn’t damaging. But still.
The data was coming from someone in the HR department so I don’t expect them to realize the impact of changing the data layout. But someone in accounting or finance should understand the impact since they work with Excel and numbers all day long. And yet, I often see data being input with no regard for how they can use the data or pull out the data in the future. I’m not talking about the project codes or GL codes; I’m talking about the comments that accountants often use to clarify what the entry is. The biggest offenders are the misspellings or the multiple variation of spellings. Don’t they even pull out data? You would think they would get frustrated trying to pull out data if they face 4 or 5 different spelling variations. Sometimes a code number will help get around the problem but quite often, there is no code number to help. We are left to rely on just spellings.
This lack of understanding of how to use data makes me wonder if they will survive the impending change. It’s mind boggling that they are unaware of how they can improve their work. And the future could be here very quickly.