In retail, if the input to the system of one item code is missed, an employee at the checkout can't figure out how to manually key in a price.
Customer service call systems and phone trees have become so complicated that customers just give up when they can't get to a real person.
At the end of the day, you begin to run a risk of breeding out so much intelligence from the business with automated processes that you don't have sufficient trained staff on hand to do the "big jobs" that still require innovative thinking.
We are already starting to see this in IT, with the development of new "instant app creation" toolsets that abstract the system underpinnings of applications because those now doing the app programming work lack the in-depth systems knowledge of their predecessors.
This is not to say that automating business processes is bad -- the astounding improvements in productivity that business has made over the past two decades is
due largely to BPA. The improvements in cost performance can also be traced to BPA.
Nevertheless, have we really improved the quality of doing business, or the quality of the customer experience for those who do business with the company? These are still open questions.
The danger of going too far with BPA is in its potential to condition employees into mentally lethargic behavior. Then, when a business exception comes around, or a smart analytics report delivers data that fails to synchronize with what is really happening, there is no one there to think through the situation on his own.
Apr 21st, 2015
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