opinion

Taking Control With Automation

AJ Hall

Cutting costs is smart. Cutting corners is not. With automation, you really can have too much of a good thing.

Quality suffers when automation is taken too far. There’s more room for error and things get sloppy.

Be sure the automation tools you choose also give you the option to have control over production.

Mission critical aspects of a website like site tours and anything related to sales or promotion are better off not being automated. It’s a good idea to automate routine tasks like cutting video clips, zipping photos and bulk creating galleries for affiliate programs. It’s not such a good idea to let a software program select the photos for your site’s tour or have it automatically do foreign language translations that your customers read. Maintain quality control.

As the owner of an automation company, the biggest danger I see among customers is that automation breeds laziness. This is a pitfall for both business owners and web staff. Owners face the highest risk, especially those seeing huge time/cost savings for the first time due to just making a new software purchase.

Staff can become lazy once they no longer need to do tedious work by hand. The temptation to go beyond using automation as a productivity booster lures some people into trying to automate every aspect of what they do – so they can take two-hour lunches and go home early. This is where cutting costs becomes cutting corners. It’s dangerous ground for any business. Losing control over production to this extent usually means you’ve lost profits and market position you’ll never recover. Having a solid game plan before automating your operation is helpful. This plan might include downsizing or moving staff to other projects that provide better ROI for time worked. Downsize or keep them working but don’t allow laziness to creep in as it often leads to failure.

When you’re looking to automate, use the right tool for the job. Seek automation software that has the features you need and look for one with features that anticipate your future needs as well. Be sure the automation tools you choose also give you the option to have control over production.

When it’s not taken too far automation can be an invaluable asset that changes how you run your business.

AJ Hall is a 12-year adult industry veteran and the cofounder and chief executive officer of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult CMS software for the online adult entertainment industry. Hall has spoken at XBIZ trade shows and is a contributing writer for several trade publications. Elevated X powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for industry awards six times and won the 2012 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.

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