You don’t have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful

You don't have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful

I was discussing a data management process with a client recently. We were trying to determine the best path for automating a particular process, and at one point the client said "I feel like it's a failure if we can't automate this process."

And then it struck me: Choosing not to automate a task even though you might be able to is not a failure. In fact, in some cases, it might make more sense to not automate a task. Here are two examples:

  1. Selling sponsorship products online. Many of my clients sell a broad array of sponsorship products, from simple things like lanyards to very complex things like bundles of ads, booth space, and sponsored content. For the "simple" things, it is typically very easy to set up the sponsorship product as an online store item that could be purchased online. But I've had clients choose not to do this because they prefer to have a conversation with every sponsor, to ensure they are an appropriate sponsor for their event, and, where appropriate, to "upsell" the sponsor to other items. So while the sale of these simple products could be automated, they are not.
  2. Online group registration. Many AMS products offer online group registration (meaning one person can sign up multiple people for the same event during the same e-commerce session). But very often there may be special rules around the group registration (e.g., discounts for a certain number, or tiered pricing) that the system can't manage natively. And so the association has to decide if they should pay for a customization to manage this (assuming the system even allows customizations like this). Very often the answer is "The expense of customization is not justified by the volume of group registrations" and so these group registrations are managed manually by staff.

There many other examples like this, of course.

The point is, just because you can automate something doesn't mean you should automate it. If you've made a conscious decision to not automate something, that's not a failure. That's smart data management!

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