30 years ago, if you needed to purchase an item from the store, you’d be face-to-face with an entire process: You get into your car, drive to the store, pick up the item, wait in a line before you can pay, write a check, and then drive back home.
Fast forward to the present: You can now complete this task on your phone in just a few short minutes. Thanks to automation, shopping for birthdays or the holidays is now a breeze. You can visit any store’s website, enter your payment information and within a few minutes it’s on the way to your home. There’s no more waiting in lines or no crowds — just you and your phone from whatever location you’re at.
One of the more useful, everyday cases of automation is popular cash-transfer application, Venmo. Before Venmo was introduced, you would have to write a check or run to the bank or any nearby ATM to withdraw money. Or worse, you’d be sitting at the table embarrassed by your empty wallet. Now, when you’re splitting the check, you can send the exact amount to your friend directly from your phone in just a few seconds.
The technology behind automation is designed to perform a certain process or procedure with minimal human assistance. The concept of automation was famously introduced in 1913 during the Industrial Revolution with Henry Ford’s installation of the assembly line. Since then, automation has transformed the way our society revolves around technology – especially on a business scale.
At Pathways, our team has been helping organizations utilize the automation capabilities inside of ServiceNow for years. For example, if an employee requests vacation time, they don’t have to type up an email to HR, wait for HR to forward the request to a manager, approve the time off, then await a status update. Instead, the requestor can go to a service portal, request a day off (and see how many remaining PTO days they have available), and the system will automatically send approval requests to a manager while keeping the employee up-to-date as the request goes through the pre-determined approved process.