At its most basic level automation can be defined as simple actions that are activated by simple actions. For example, when you add an item to a shopping cart on a website but you don’t make a purchase, retailers send you follow-up emails to remind you that your item is still sitting in the cart. This isn’t done manually, but instead via an automation that gets triggered after an item sits in a cart for a pre-determined amount of time. This level of automation has existed for more than a decade and can be applied to all lines of business. IT teams can create simple triggers that activate changes to a network when traffic thresholds are met or exceeded. Human Resources teams can automatically send emails to managers when workers request vacation days. There are even companies that can help you build simple automations that span multiple tools, so when an action is taken in system A, it triggers an action in system B, which then triggers an action in system C.

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