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Data versus human

Russell Hutchinson discusses what can be achieved by adding a little or a lot of tech to your processes.

Tuesday, February 16th 2021, 8:00AM

Data versus human, or robo versus human, is the wrong construct. It simply sets us up to get fearful, or resentful, about something we think we don’t control.

Closer to the truth is: human with little tech versus human with lots of tech.

If this still leaves you thinking that you will be defeated by a great monolith such as Google, and you have no chance, perhaps you should be encouraged by all the great examples of big systems that fail in the face of joyful human action.

From the persistent love of humans for the presence and help of other humans in services, to the defeat of great hedge funds by Redditors … there are lots of good reasons you should be optimistic.

But you still need to use good systems and employ better data in your work. Embrace it, don’t fight it.

What will better systems do for you?

Almost anything.

  • They will help you find people to talk to. Create better messages for them. Write more clearly.
  • Create visual or audio content.
  • Challenge your thinking.
  • Connect you with experts from across the world.
  • Give you evidence to help change your mind – and the mind of your clients.
  • Ideas to create new services.
  • Ways to choose better between options, plans, and products.
  • Ways to present your findings.
  • Ways your clients can engage with your services over days, months and years.
  • Keep better records. Analyse the records for patterns. Compare those patterns with the patterns of others – identify new risks, and new opportunities.

The possibilities are endless.

Why can’t I just get one which does it all?

Re-read the list above. If you limit the scope enough, to just automating one narrow interpretation of the past, then sure, perhaps a few systems together could achieve many things.

But what about the glorious options offered by all the new systems – niches found, new ideas, and the beauty of a tool made to do one job superbly well rather than many jobs just so-so?

Most people end up with a hybrid of systems, selecting the best of each of the areas they choose to automate.

But I am not sure if I can be a systems integrator and architect all in one?

You won’t have to be.

The run of play for systems over the last twenty years has been towards simpler user interfaces and greater options for integration – to the point that you will be able to build brick on brick as you go.

A detailed plan for every system you think you will need for a decade to come may be more of a liability than an asset.

But plan anyway – the time thinking about it will be valuable – just keep in mind the rolling wave approach to project management: the further out you are planning, the more things are subject to change.

Tags: Opinion Russell Hutchinson tech innovation technology

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