$273 bn are spent in digital advertising but we don’t even know what the ROI is.

$80 bn are spent in SEO with many business opportunities, but even when SEO is highly effective, the ROI is still difficult to calculate.

So what about automation, one of those areas where you can be sure it will grow in the coming years.

The first thing that comes to mind is time. When you automate things, you earn back time. But there are two other things to look at: prevented mistakes and the value of simplicity

In the short term: The value of time

The ROI of fully automated tasks (The very easy part)

You have 10 employees doing the same task for 30 min per week. Each employee costs $50 / hour to the company.

Automate the task fully and you will save ~$1000/month. Substract the cost of the developer and you’re done.

The ROI of partially automated tasks

Now let’s say you have 1 employee from top-management doing the same task for 5 hours per week. The employee costs $100 / hour to the company.

Let’s say you automate half of the task.

That will still save ~$1000/month. Substract the cost of the developer and you’re done.

In the middle term: The value of prevented mistakes

Human mistakes during repetitive tasks are very frequent. They account for 15% to 80% of unplanned downtime on systems, with even the biggest companies like Amazon affected by it.

Connecting softwares together simplify the process of finding mistakes and finding omissions.

Let’s say someone has to do something but forgets to do it. With automatic notifications, you can reduce the cost of these omissions.

While it’s difficult to compute the ROI (you can’t compute what you don’t see) of prevented mistakes, the value should not be taken for granted.

In the long term: The value of simplicity

The hardest ROI is the one associated with simplicity.

Basecamp knows the value of it.

With some companies like Buffer or Ahrefs earning more than $1M per employee, the value of staying small is huge.

Again, this ROI is not computable. But while the growth of a company can be done via the number of employees, it can also be done by automating processes.