When you think about the tech you use in your business today, do these sound familiar: endless spreadsheets, confusing email chains, clunky legacy systems? Oftentimes these burdensome efforts result from concerns about the cost and complexity of trying new approaches.

But this bureaucratic slow roll can become toxic. It wastes hours of high-talent time on mind-numbing tasks. It can breed frustration and attrition as employees flee to firms who do not seem to be mired in 1998. And it can cement midsize firms into sluggishness.

Meanwhile, AI is revolutionizing everything from marketing to manufacturing. Cloud tech has rendered on-prem servers obsolete. Mobile puts power and collaboration in every palm. In such an environment, operating with legacy tech can be the equivalent of competing with one arm tied behind your back.

Do you want breakthroughs? Automate that rote work. Leverage AI's untiring capacity. Move operations to the cloud for scalability and resilience. Will it be scary? Most definitely. Will it require tough choices? Yes. But fortune favors the bold.

Here are some well-established opportunities to consider:

Customer Service: AI-powered chatbots can provide 24/7 support, handling common issues like account changes, FAQs, reminders, etc. Of course, your people are still critical for the human touch they offer, especially when problems get complex. But bots excel at the high-volume drudgery. This kind of automation is one to put at the top of your list.

Operations: Documents, contract reviews and data processing can all be streamlined through AI. Cloud-based workflows eliminate bottlenecks. Apps like Airtable, Zapier and If This Then That enable cross-platform automation without coding. It’s time to drain your operational swamp!

Marketing: Start with your biggest pain point. Lead generation and email nurturing sequences are common automation wins. Build in metrics early to quantify results. Social media scheduling tools optimize posting times. By consolidating data and automating repetitive tasks, marketers can focus on high-impact initiatives like campaign strategy, branding, content creation and customer insights.

Human Resources: Automate payroll, PTO approvals and other tasks. Surveys and pulse checks can provide real-time employee satisfaction data. Automation frees HR to handle genuine human matters like culture, development, and retention.

Accounting and Finance: Invoicing, reporting and AP/AR can be automated to cut down tedious work. AI is getting terrifyingly good at forecasting and modeling, too. At the end of the day, the CFO's job is insight and strategy, not cranking out spreadsheets.

Conclusion: Will full automation happen overnight? Of course not. But committing to gradual modernization now is infinitely better than a panicked scramble for reinvention when the markets force your hand.

Start with two to three high-impact experiments: a sales chatbot, automated invoice processing, AI contract review, etc. Prove value in small doses, then scale what works. The key here is leadership from the top.

Yes, it will take convincing. Change is scary. Frame it as relief for your most burned-out teams. Show how speed, efficiency and output will improve. Highlight the competitive upside: you innovate or get left behind. Lead the team to the future.

Will some efforts fail? Absolutely. Overcome failure quickly by iterating. As Charles Darwin said, it's not the strongest who survive, but those most responsive to change.

Midsize companies must be decisive in embracing technology. Scrap outdated systems dragging you down. Automate strategically.

The bottom line? Existing processes must not impede progress. With the right vision and urgency, midsize leaders can leverage automation to compete at higher levels in today's digital arena.

The tools are there. The opportunities abound. Fear and inertia alone hold companies back. It's time for a mindset shift amongst midsize firm leaders. Stop tweaking the status quo and start reimagining everything. Be relentless about cutting waste. Empower your people and your business through technology.

Fortune favors the bold, so be bold.