Sysadmins talk a lot about "automation" but I think a more specific definition is needed.
"Tool writing" is when we create a program (script, whatever) that takes a task that that we do and does it better/faster/more accurately. For example, creating a new account used to take 10 or more manual steps (creating the homedir, setting permissions, adding a line to /etc/passwd, /etc/group, etc). Good examples include: FreeBSD "pw adduser" or Linux "useradd". In short, a tool improves our ability to do a task.
"Automation" is when we create a system that eliminates a task. Continuing with our example, if we "automate" account management we might build a system that polls our HR database and creates an account for any new employee and suspends accounts for anyone terminated. This eliminates our need to create/delete accounts completely.
A conflict arises when sysadmins on a team are used to using tools and someone creates automation. The people that are used to tools create accounts the old way which confuses the automation. It might delete the account because it doesn't see it in the HR database. Or, new features might be added to the automation and therefore might not be communicated to the system administrators. For example, the automation might be extended to create a default WWW homepage for new users; the sysadmins that work around the automation may not be aware of this and the new users they create "on the side" find themselves without the internal home page that other new users receive.
While I encourage the creation of tools to make sysadmins tasks easier, the creation of systems that eliminate tasks is much more important. While automating our tasks often involves creating tools, writing tools does not automate our work.
There's a difference.