The Sheer Pleasure of Automation

Growing up I never considered myself to be creative. I wasn’t good at art and never in my mind ever created anything. Even after decades of designing and building computer systems I still did not consider this to be creative, especially since my family includes a fine dining chef and a landscape artist, both of which I consider to be highly creative professions. I guess it comes down to what creativity really is. Is programming creative? Recently, my opinion has changed and I do believe programming is creative; maybe not all programming, but certainly some it. I program for fun now, recently completing a game scoring and control system for badminton sessions complete with automated player selection, skill matching and so on. I do it for the pleasure of programming, although I don’t really understand why it is so enjoyable. I’m sure a psychologist could help me understand this, but I think it is the sense of achievement I feel when the program does precisely what I intended it to do.

I was talking with a customer recently and they spoke of the pleasure of automating systems with OpCon. “It’s so much better than scripting,” he said. “I can get systems talking together really quickly and I don’t need to document anything.” The last part made me laugh, documenting anything is so often hated by programmers. This conversation took me back to my love of programming and the creative aspects of building a system or application to do something and the pleasure of seeing it work, especially the first time.

Since that discussion, I have talked with many more of our customers and they generally speak passionately about what they can achieve with automation inside OpCon. In one case, creating a series of self-generating or recursive jobs that result in thousands of jobs from a base of only 7 or 8 jobs. Wow! This is really advanced programming inside an enterprise automation product.

“It’s so much better than scripting.”

I had not previously considered this creative side of what our customers do with our products and it has been a wonderful insight into their world. According to Gartner there is a strong trend towards jobs that contain the word automation as in Automation Manager, Head of Automation and so on. Personally, I think this reflects not only the rise of automation but the passion that it invokes. I think we are just beginning to tap into something that has driven industry, engineering and innovation for hundreds of years, the sheer pleasure of automation. I wonder how long before we have a Chief Automation Officer?

About the Author
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Paul Wade

Paul Wade is the VP of Products at SMA Solutions. He has a global strategic focus for SMA products, analyst relations, the automation market and new opportunities. Paul constantly strives for high quality and easy-to-use solutions that build trust, drive sales and reduce support costs for our clients. His innovative leadership style, combined with our experienced team of product managers helps deliver real value and growth to our customers.

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