According to the recent Deloitte Mid-Market Technology Survey, “Mid-market companies are starting to look beyond immediate needs toward a future where technology plays a much greater role in just about every aspect of their business.” And, one of the hottest trends in technology these days is artificial intelligence (AI). And, before you panic, I’m not talking about robots making coffee or answering phone calls; many companies are already using AI capabilities in far more subtle and interesting ways. According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, the most common business application for AI is "detecting and fending off computer security intrusions in the IT department.” Other common uses include resolving users’ tech issues, gauging internal compliance, anticipating future customer purchases, monitoring social media, tailoring promotions, and financial trading.
Many mid-market companies are looking to AI for help with making better business decisions based on data, which we have unprecedented access to thanks to recent technological advances. Traditionally, companies use business intelligence to analyze what has already happened, and with artificial intelligence coming on the scene, now they have data to answer questions about what might be coming next. According to the Deloitte
While knowledge is power, having the right data is more important than having the most data. So, while you take advantage of the rise of AI to power your business forecasting, don’t discount the critical importance of human intelligence. According to an Inc.com article, "Artificial intelligence can help companies ... but relying solely on logic and analysis is insufficient. No robot can replace human imagination, compassion, and the ability to empathize -- traits that will help you connect more deeply with your customers and create solutions they find desirable.”
In addition to being critical in customer relations and product design, human intelligence is also essential in business forecasting. In Rhythm, you can set up your KPIs to auto-calculate from numbers that your team members enter. However, we leave the status update (Red, Yellow, Green, SuperGreen) up to human intelligence. We could easily design the software to automatically calculate a sum or average and pop in a status based on the number, but we very intentionally did not design it that way. There are a few critical reasons for this:
1. There’s more to the story than the number. If the status auto-populated based on the number, you’re not getting the full picture. Maybe your team hasn’t hit that number yet, but they have information that gives them the confidence they will hit it by the end of the quarter. Or, maybe the reverse is true - the numbers are all looking good, but the team can see a train-wreck coming. You don’t want to make decisions without all the right information.
2. The number doesn’t matter if nobody owns it. During planning, our clients assign an owner to each and every KPI, meaning that one person is ultimately accountable for that number. There’s an emotional element to assigning the status color each week. Nobody likes to status Red, and we’ve found that people usually will do everything in their power to avoid it. If the software automatically statuses Red for them, they’ve lost that sense of ownership and urgency to solve the problem and make fast and smart adjustments.
So, when you are looking to integrate the latest and greatest AI innovations in your company, be sure to balance those changes by not overlooking the importance of human intelligence and accountability, which are also essential elements in your company’s future success.
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images