Being Human in an Age That’s Digital


tablet in hand

‘Going Digital’ has become that buzzword, that panacea to today’s business strategy challenge. As well it should be . . . to some extent.

There’s no denying that we need to automate the data, set up the hardware and network infrastructure, but that doesn’t mean that we should de-value the human and let AI and analytics trump the judgment and skills of humans.

Experienced humans DEFINE the right problem.

1. If we let automation and software solve the problem, and you’re addressing a symptom or the wrong problem, the solution will leave you right back where you started . . . or worse.

2. Humans can conduct the interviews with the stakeholders who have that problem and understand how each stakeholder is affected, and how each group works with other groups. This is a necessary step to solving any problem. And not something that can be delegated to something digital. You can, however, create interview templates, document results, share documents with stakeholders, and in general, collaborate to create documents and automate the sharing and updating process.

3. Humans with deep experience, that tribal knowledge, have witnessed a wide breadth of problems. Creating libraries of modules to address elements of common problems just makes sense. Knowing which modules to leverage how is also something not to be delegated to something digital. But managing the updating of those modules can be automated.

4. Getting buy-in from all stakeholders from the DEFINE stage is not something you can delegate to anything digital.

Experienced humans DESIGN the solution to the defined problem.

5. Experienced humans leverage findings from the DEFINE stage to DESIGN a solution which meets the objectives of major stakeholders, in alignment with corporate goals. Designing a solution is an opportunity to validate the design proposed from the ‘define’ phase. If changes need to happen, experienced humans have the judgment to know if the DEFINE phase needs to be revisited, or if the DESIGN needs to be tweaked. Again, this is not something which can be delegated to something digital.

6. Designing, validating and testing a scalable solution which addresses current and anticipated needs takes an experienced team of humans. But these experienced humans integrate analytics to ensure that the results are measured real-time, and create the automated processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

7. Getting the buy-in from all stakeholders for the DESIGN is also not something that can be delegated.

Experienced humans lead the BUILD of the solution. 

8. Builds can not be automated, no matter how sophisticated and detailed the program specifications are! But having modules, scripts and processes in place will help humans more efficiently implement that build, and coordinate development with others who are doing the same.

Experienced humans effectively TEST the solution. 

9.  Sure scripts can be set up to test whether a build is working in measurable terms. But the human knows what to measure, when to measure it, and what success looks like. Having a detailed understanding of what’s-to-be-tested and measured makes it easier for humans to oversee the automated, ongoing testing of a solution.

Experienced humans effectively DEPLOY the solution. 

10. No disrespect to all the digital programs and automations leveraged throughout the process, but it will again take a human to know how and when to deploy to which audience, and also how to support any of these customers following the deployment.

In the end, throughout the development process, it’s the human who needs to decide which digital solutions and tools can help do what. And the next time you, as a human, fear that something that’s digital will replace you, think about what it means to be human, in an age that’s digital.

Special thanks to Patrick Lesandrini, author of IT SHIFT – Providing IT and Business Transformation Services for his contributions to this article.


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