Archive for the ‘Personalization’ Category

A Convergence of Technologies

February 3, 2017

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FountainBlue’s February 3 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies and Solutions’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our executives in attendance.

This month’s roundtable executives represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Below is a compilation of their ideas on the opportunities ahead, as technologies convergence across function and across industry.

Convergence may mean different things for different companies, but at its heart is the idea that we have the infrastructure to support the transference of technologies and solutions across solutions, across industries, across customers. Foundational to the convergence theme is the required infrastructure necessary to support it. This means everything must be in order: from the hardware and software needed to process information and create solutions, to the network needed to connect and communicate, to the policies and processes needed to support commerce, to the systems and solutions to support the delivery of services, and most importantly, the ability of the customer to pay for solutions, and companies to deliver to them what they need.

Each of our represented leaders and companies have solved aspects of these challenges and continue to push the envelope, not just for technology development, but also for the business processes and business model evolutions which would support the growth of the company. (See blog on ‘An Innovation Conversation‘.) There’s general agreement that convergence is happening across industries, across technologies, across companies, so our execs provided the collective advice below.

  • Encourage the transition of technologies across multiple use cases, as driven by the needs of the customer. 
  • Create a collaboration between technologists and sales engineers to partner with customers to design new solutions.
  • Create modules and solutions which make it easy for customers to leverage technologies and knowledge, and an easy way for them to communicate with staff and with each other as they design customized solutions.
  • Not all customers are created equal. Create self-service solutions which make it efficient and easy for most of your customers to help themselves, while providing additional and separate support for larger accounts.
  • Continue to focus on quality as you scale.
  • Invite the use of open source solutions and collaborations with trusted partners, creating an ecosystem that’s mutually beneficial.
  • Don’t let the management tool distract you from what needs to be done to best serve the customer.
  • Leverage modular open source solutions where it is practical. 

Below are some hot areas to watch.

  • Look for ways to bring the digital to the physical, cost-effectively bringing custom-fit solutions to eagerly awaiting customers who are well positioned to pay well for them.
  • Find ways to apply B-to-C businesses models and create B-to-B opportunities.
  • Balancing privacy, security and access will continue to be a challenge, find out how it’s also the opportunity.
  • Imagine how custom molds, CAD design, 3D printers, and small-scale manufacturing could create a growth opportunity.
  • Look at the diagnostic and screening opportunities both for disease management and optimal health. Consider also privacy issues around these solutions.
  • Consider moving from a traditional sales model to a SaaS model for standard businesses, much like what Michelin is doing with tire sales – selling by the mile rather than straight sale.
  • Robotics and drones and voice activation will be hot in most solutions created.
  • IoT will be everywhere. What needs to happen in order to standardize IoT solutions to meet privacy, security and access requirements? Who will lead the charge and what are the business opportunities as this will inevitably happen?
  • Blockchain and its ability to provide that audit trail will provide many business and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The bottom line is that convergence is already happening, and it opens up many opportunities ahead for those willing to embrace them.

Innovation

January 31, 2017

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Everybody wants to be known as the ‘Innovator’. For many, it’s better than being known as the ‘Leader’ – there are generally fewer strings attached and less pressure to perform in all these random areas.

But most people think that innovation is reserved for the geekiest of geeks, the eggheads with the novel, game-changing ideas, the brainiacs who shine brighter than the rest of us. I’m hoping that this post helps more people that they can also be part of the innovation equation.

  1. I created the matrix above to include technology as an element of innovation, but also included business models and process innovations as valid ways to improve the way we work.
  2. Each element is also divided into the status quo – what we’re doing today in each of these areas, the incremental – which makes the business model, processes, and technologies incrementally better, and the novel – a whole new way of thinking about each element.
  3. The status quo for business models, processes and technologies have taken us far, and will likely be valid for weeks/months/years to come, depending on the solution and the industry. But accept that the status quo will be passe at some point, and choose to make incremental improvements or pivot in a novel direction.
  4. I mean no disrespect for incremental changes, which can and has sustain companies and industries for decades. Look for incremental changes not just in technology, but also in business models and process improvement.
  5. If you’re seeking a novel new direction for technology, processes or business models, listen closely to what the customers are saying or not saying so that you can shape the direction based on their needs.
  6. Watch for the cross-overs between business processes, business models and technology innovations. Fixing and improving one may create an incremental or novel change for another.
  7. Be open to innovations of all flavors, coming from all directions. Unless it does not align with your overall objectives, your customer needs, your operational requirements, or your core values.
  8. Purposely push the limits innovating your internal processes and you may find new business models, or the core of an idea for a novel new technology.
  9. It’s always about the people. Find people who are smart, open, flexible and eager to do something new, make something better. Beware of people who stick with the same-old thing, no matter how brilliant and wonderful they otherwise are.
  10. Bringing it all together takes an extraordinary amount of vision, passion, competence, patience and fortitude. This is not the task meant for the ordinary person.

Are YOU extraordinary?

When Digital Meets Physical

December 31, 2016

digitalphysicalDigital will continue to be the buzz – the differentiator which makes it easier to gather, digest and interpret data, easier to send personalized solutions to a wide range of customers. There’s no question that AI, BI and the Internet of Everything will affect the amount of information we receive online through our computers and through our wide range of smart devices. But there will be a physical element to digital solutions and elegantly integrating the two will set products and solutions apart.

  1. Yes, this means that IoT in general will continue to be hot, and affecting all of us in our day to day lives in ways we can barely imagine, and much more pervasively than we expect. Companies who can create a standard for the physical devices and the digital output from these devices will help the entire industry further ride that boom.
  2. IoT in the health and fitness space will continue to produce volumes of data, but also begin exploring the implications of the data and also interpreting volumes of data for patterns, while respecting the privacy of individual users.
  3. IoT in the retail space will help companies do everything from managing inventory to tracking customers, from improving security to anticipating orders.
  4. IoT in the transportation space will go far beyond GPS and emergency services and parking support. It will soon transform everything from car upgrades to changing appearances and going driverless!
  5. IoT in the consumer at home space will be all around automation a la Google and Nest and its temperature settings, and going far beyond that into appliance automation, lawn and garden care, and automated cooking and anticipatory grocery buying.
  6. Digital Out Of the Home (DOOH) solutions provide digital experiences going beyond computers and mobile phones and devices. Think about bus stops, bill boards, airports, train stations, food courts . . . pushing information out where people congregate, without the need for a computer or mobile device.
  7. Digital solutions can extend far beyond the tech world . . . including into agriculture. Imagine if we had tools which could support the full food supply chain – from production to processing to distribution and storage. These innovations will help improve efficiencies and the physical world for millions of people.
  8. Digital solutions enable peer-to-peer platforms which will continue to explode. Whether it’s with transportation services such as UBER and Lyft or vacation rental services such as AirBnB, or funding and loan services such as Indiegogo and Lending Club, people will connect with each other to deliver physical services, leveraging the digital platform to ensure fit, efficiency, security, etc.
  9. The quantity and quality of easily-available streaming digital videos is mind-boggling. We’re rapidly reaching the point where videos are preferred over standard television. And the point where original content, even if produced in non-commercial ways a la YouTube is preferred.
  10. And the point where immersive and interactive components are mandatory requirements for a successful digital experience, leveraging AR, QVC codes, motion sensory or MAC detectors.

The list could go on from here . . . Suffice it to say that the trend is going from Online to Offline (the physical), moving the user Onward – to a richer, more fulfilled, better served future. And if there’s success, there will be a loop back to the Online option, for more information, for more connections, for additional options.

In Search of Unicorns

November 4, 2016

pegasusFountainBlue’s November 11 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘In Search of Unicorns’ hosted by Samsung.

The executives in attendance at this month’s roundtable represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Therefore, their perspectives on what it means to be entrepreneurial, what’s hot and what’s not varied greatly. However, there’s agreement that:

  • The innovation ecosystem will include investors, entrepreneurs, executives and providers. Interactive conversations and collaborations will become increasingly more important.
  • We should all value the openness and creativity of the entrepreneurs, the resources, channels and funding of the corporate partners, as well as the funding and vision of the investors, for each has a piece of the puzzle.
  • Perhaps we should re-think whether we’re looking for ‘unicorns’. So many companies are captivated by the mythical element, or the horn, and miss the importance of the wings – wings which transcend what regular horses can do. So perhaps a winged horse, a ‘Pegasus’, will more likely lead us to that billion dollar company.

The collective advice of our executives is summarized below.

  • What you’ve learned throughout your business journey may feed into your future entrepreneurial efforts. So take the time to learn about what worked and what didn’t work in terms of business models and processes and in terms of technology. The answers will lie in efficiently delivering what customers are looking for.
  • Work within the needs of the customer, the mind-sets of the players in the industry, the processes embraced over decades. But find ways to provide innovation which would fit into all these forces as well.
  • Corporates may value the technology innovation over the current adoption rate of the start-up. A company’s R&D and manufacturing centers, network of partner and channel contacts, access to funding, etc. may help that promising unicorn realize its potential.
  • Whether you’re facilitating innovation conversations between teams within an organization, encouraging customers to adopt of the latest solutions, or fostering the introduction of a new hardware, software or government standard, it’s always about getting influential people to adopt a new way of thinking or speaking or doing something, and encouraging others to do the same.
  • All industries will be transformed by the immersive, social, mobile, analytics, IOT and cloud solutions.

Below are opportunities ripe for innovation.

  • Seek opportunities to transform how we do things now, leveraging IT, big data and automation. 
  • Seek opportunities to provide integrated end-to-end solutions.
  • Voice recognition leveraging Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence will continue to be of foundational importance. 
  • Automate functions which connect vetted providers with those-in-need, UBER style. Whether it’s connecting substitute teachers to classrooms, or connecting companies with excess food to nonprofits who distribute food (like gocopia.com), automating that connection adds value to all.
  • Innovative ways to digitally vet health status of patients with certified health professionals may save people and companies time and money in spades.
  • Look inside out and outside in to find those upside-down ways of addressing existing challenges. Embrace people with diverse perspectives who can help solve problems in new ways, leveraging IT, software, and devices.
  • Look for solutions beyond our world, and into the stratosphere to address a whole new layer of solutions – above the realm of drones, and within the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Connect the digital solution to the physical world. 

We are on the cusp of innovations in all markets at an astronomical scale. The world as we know it will become much bigger than we could ever imagine, and we can all choose to participate and shape that direction, to create a bigger, brighter, more collaborative and more efficient future.

On Being Limitless

October 31, 2016

limitlessWhat if the world were your oyster – if you had all the energy, all the answers, all the resources you need to do whatever you’d like to do, within reason, and address specific problems and challenges? What if you knew, or could easily figure out, the answer to some of the world’s greatest challenges – from the cure to cancer to the challenge of overpopulation, from global warming to the ongoing survival and well-being of mankind, from the origin of the big bang to living outside and beyond our solar system.

In today’s quickly-changing world, powered by ground-breaking technology-based transformations that are dynamic, immersive, relevant and real, it’s hard to imagine what the next chapter will bring, and easy to see that bright minds are focused on addressing remaining challenges one by one.

Assuming that this happens, and we are all so much more powerful – limitless even – what can we do to ensure that we remain compassionate and human, ethical and logical in applying our faculties and resources?

  1. Will we be wise enough to define the right problem to solve?
  2. Will tribal knowledge be collected and also be factored in?
  3. Will we be able to collaborate with the right people to make the right near-term and long term solution?
  4. Will we be patient enough to vet solutions to make sure that they deliver intended results?
  5. Will we be able to prioritize which problems to solve first and how many resources would be allocated to which problems?
  6. Will we be able to get the buy-in from the right people to implement solutions?
  7. Will we be able to test amongst many options?
  8. Will we be able to elegantly rewind a choice already made?
  9. Will we be able to do the ‘right’ thing for all stakeholders involved?
  10. Will we be able to have sufficient oversight to prevent people from unilaterally making decisions that affect others without their permission?

If the answer is no for any of the above, how can we plan-fully prepare for this whole new world?

Leading Digital Transformation

September 29, 2016

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Innovation is that buzz word, that separator between leaders, especially in tech companies. Having lived in Silicon Valley these past three decades and having seen scores of innovation leaders and wannabes, my conclusion is that independent of industry, digital transformation is key. In addition, the TRUE innovation leaders are those who have leveraged the digital to optimize people, processes and technology and THEY are the ones who are positioned to transform individuals, teams, companies and even industries. Below is a summary of thoughts and ideas I’ve compiled in working with these TRUE innovation leaders.

Digital Transformation around People

Leveraging digital solutions to transform the people and culture of an organization is no easy task. Emotions generally run high, and politics is inevitable. However, if the executives provide a vision of where the company is going and why it is a great place to be, if all stakeholders can get aligned on vision, mission and values, if everyone could park their egos and agendas for the greater cause, it is a great starting point. From there, embracing the digital means everything from assessments of people-fit, motivations, and talent mapped to current and ongoing needs, to the alignment of roles with talent and the empowerment of the next generation of leaders. Start any digital transformation with the people side of the equation. For it’s the people, the leaders at all levels who will see that need and pivot and shift to meet that meet. Leveraging digital solutions to transform the people and culture of an organization is no easy task. Emotions generally run high, and politics is inevitable. However, if the executives provide a vision of where the company is going and why it is a great place to be, if all stakeholders can get aligned on vision, mission and values, if everyone could park their egos and agendas for the greater cause, it is a great starting point. From there, embracing the digital means everything from assessments of people-fit, motivations, and talent mapped to current and ongoing needs, to the alignment of roles with talent and the empowerment of the next generation of leaders. Start any digital transformation with the people side of the equation. For it’s the people, the leaders at all levels who will see that need and pivot and shift to meet that meet. 

Digital Transformation around Process  
Once the vision is confirmed and aligned, review the processes involved in the implementation of all business operations. Know who’s involved in doing what in all parts of the business – from sales to marketing, engineering and operations, from legal to finance, HR to administration. Knowing who’s involved, how actions and items are processed, how long it takes to get things done, what the impact of processes are on development, delivery and service will position leaders to understand how to better optimize everything digital. Optimizing processes makes them more dynamic, more cross-functional, more collaborative, more interactive, more engaging, more streamlined, more scalable, more integrated and more responsive to changes. 

Digital Transformation around Technology
When the people and vision are set, when the processes are defined and mapped, then select the technologies that best support the processes and people. The tech must be agile, scalable, sustainable, secure, compliant, flexible, and accepted as an industry standard. Many times organizations and leaders start with the tech, but having the people buy-in first, and understanding the processes and needs will facilitate the adoption of the best tech solutions.

Integrating People, Process and Technology 
So it’s not so simple, right? It can’t be just about first the people, then the process, then the tech! It integrates the three vectors throughout the cycle! You have to align a wide range of stakeholders on a shared vision for the company throughout the process; get buy-in on how you can integrate people, process and technology goals; continue to deliver win-win, tangible, measurable and scalable results across people, process and tech; update goals for each through inevitable change; and respond real-time to customer and market changes as they impact people, process and tech.

This is why digital transformation leaders are so REAL and so TRUE and so RARE. This is why I glom on to every transformational leader I’ve ever met, for I learn so much and see how they impact all those around them.

Age of the Customer

September 7, 2016

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FountainBlue’s September 2 VIP roundtable was on the topic of Embracing the Age of Personalization. Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Hitachi. The executives in attendance at this month’s roundtable represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Therefore, their perspectives on who the customer is, what the customers’ needs are, and how best to address them varied widely. Below is a compilation of their collective thoughts regarding serving the needs of the customer.

  • Companies can’t be everything for everyone. They must have a clear idea of which customers they serve and know how to serve them well, to the point of even anticipating their needs.
  • Serving the customer means also that the business must morph, depending on the needs of the customer. This in general means offering more customized professional services, offering platforms for customizations, offering integrated products and services, etc.,
  • Companies from all industries are better leveraging technology to deliver to the needs of the customer.
  • Companies must adhere to the policies and requirements of the company where their headquarters are located, as well as all the countries where their customers reside. Interactions and services may become quite complex and complicated.
  • Gone are the days when people await the formal glossy newsletter. Real-time, social communications and interactive mobile applications are the best ways to connect with your customers, partners and other stakeholders.
  • The attention span of the customer has gotten really short. Think about offering a 20 second sound bite as a teaser so that they will see a 14 minute video show.

Here are some predictions from our group of execs:

  • Pay-as-you-go software-as-a-service offerings will become an essential requirement for vendors.
  • Customer expectations will continue to rise exponentially and companies will be continuing to scramble to get customers the level of instantaneous, detailed information and analysis they seek.
  • The Intelligence of Things will be focused on solving real-world problems.
  • The role of the channel will become much more important and channel leaders will be chartered with translating the needs of the customer and simplifying and mapping these to solutions which are scalable, leveraging technology.
  • Immersion experiences will become more integral to better understanding the needs of the customer.
  • Ease of use and intuitiveness of flow will be so much more important as customers will have low tolerance for things that are too complex, confusing or complicated to be usable. It’s an Age of Convenience!
  • Configuration platforms will help customers customize to their own needs, following an architecture and structure designed by companies.
  • Companies which offer integrated services from soup to nuts will earn a large and loyal customer base.
  • Companies who can best understand and sell to niche international markets will see better returns. An example is Coke, who has a separate formula for different locations. In fact, most companies already do this, with the BMW3 series being an exception.
  • The same can be said for companies who can successfully connect with specific industry verticals.
  • There will be more money available in general, but it would be offered to fewer companies who truly understand the needs of the customer and seamlessly deliver to those needs.

Resources:

    • 5 Tech Trends Redefining the Customer Experience, Information Week, August 2016 
      • Create Multi-modal instant content, integrating words, images, sounds and video.
      • Think of IoT as devices that provide the next major channel of communication.
      • Leverage data science to deliver differentiated and personalized experiences. 
      • Automate business processes with bots, agents and supervisors.

      • Invest in a modern microservice cloud architecture, where applications are divided into hundreds of independent microservices. 

    • The Age of Personalization: Why Curated Content Is Good For Business, Magnify Team, July 21, 2016
      • Personalization has transformed from a marketing objective to a larger value system that guides how we produce and consume content

From This Trickle Comes a Flood

August 22, 2016

Trickle

The ability to create Something from Nothing is no small feat. New growth is an exciting, rare, inspiring and all-around very-good thing! I wrote a post last January on this topic, highlighting my humble roots as a first-generation immigrant and all the insurmountable obstacles we faced as a family, succeeding against incredible odds. This explains in part my passion for innovation and leadership, and my work at FountainBlue over the last decade, advising start-ups, coaching execs and running events.

But as my daughter heads off to college (UCLA playing sand volleyball, go Bruins!) and I look at what’s next for me, my emphasis will be more on growing ideas, concepts, leaders and organizations from its high-potential starting point to a wider, deeper and broader opportunity.

It’s not that I’m dishonoring the brilliance and energy and optimism of the newly-minted ideas and technologies, it’s that growing it will impact more people, energy and others. If you’re at the stage where you’re trickling in people, customers and funding, below are some thoughts to consider as you grow, with links to some of my recent posts.

  1. Do the market research to know not only that customers are interested, but that they also have the budget, authority and NEED to buy. Without the larger commitment, you could create something and nobody would come.
  2. Don’t be a technology looking for a customer. Understand the view from the customer’s perspective and design something that would fit their needs and their limitations and requirements. In short, take a Cow’s-Eye-View-of-the-World.
  3. Know enough about the trends in the market to anticipate the needs of the customer in the context of these macro trends. Be that information junkie in this age of media! Read up on what’s happening with which leader and which company and why it’s relevant to yourself and others in your circle. Listen closely to those around you to see how they are impacted by what’s happening.
  4. Use that seventh sense to quickly read and assess and connect with people who touch them in-person, online, or over e-mail.
  5. Embrace core foundational beliefs as we emerge into an age of personalization and the fact that sifting the wheat from the chaff will help leaders and companies focus on the most relevant data.
  6. Make a plan that intersects market trends, technology solutions and passion, interest and energy in that space. First focus on the market, then the skills, then the passion.
  7. If Web 1.0 connects us at the IT and software layer, and Web 2.0 connects the communities and runs solutions to scale, then Web 3.0 does all this and adds a layer of revenues, a layer of interactivity, and a model for personalized solutions to the door.
  8. Consider new business models that leverages this age of digital, this age of the customer.
  9. Bridge silos to overcome innovation hurdles.
  10. Accept that change happens with any plan, for factors mostly independent of you, then roll with it.

May you find these thoughts useful. We also welcome your thoughts!

Balancing Privacy, Security and Access

August 9, 2016

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FountainBlue’s August 5 VIP roundtable was on the topic of Balancing Privacy, Security and Access! Please join us in thanking our gracious hosts at Dell and our esteemed execs in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation.

This month’s execs represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Thus, their perspectives on balancing privacy, security and access varied based on their current and past experience and their view of the future. But they shared many common viewpoints:

  • Data and apps are used by everyone everywhere and controlling who uses which app, and what data is used where is impossible! The proliferation of devices, IOT sensors, big data analytics, mobility and cloud solutions is making the security of our corporate and personal accounts so much more important AND so much more precarious now than ever before. 
  • Choosing security may mean investing more time and money to make sure that the right information and funds is being transferred to the right entity or account. 
  • Choosing security often means investing more into proactive planning as well as reactive management should breaches occur.
  • Security breaches are bound to happen, so planning for them, anticipating specific scenarios, mitigating risks, and responding thoroughly and quickly and transparently are a necessary and integral part of running a company, and managing your personal data.
  • It’s amazing how easy it is for the bad guys to get into a system, to access sensitive information. There are companies who employ people full time to do just these things. And also companies who spend many man-hours hacking into their own vulnerabilities to keep ahead of them!
  • Security and access are so important in the eyes of corporate leaders that many times privacy takes a back seat. 
  • Corporate and IT leaders are challenged with the need to educate their staff about security protocols and processes, while also making it easy for them to access the networks and devices and data so that they can efficiently get work done! It’s even more challenging when leaders are dealing with a wide range of staff members and cultures with many different and fervent thoughts about following protocols!
  • Compliance with protocols and standards is difficult at best as there are no standards across states, across countries. Yet, compliance is required, as it’s incumbent upon companies to be proactively secure, and transparently communicative should there be a breach!

Below are some collective thoughts on what you can do to proactively balance privacy, security and access.

  • Look closely at the scenarios when someone is identified as an owner of something (like a car for example). In some contexts, it’s necessary to know, and in other cases, it’s an invasion of privacy to know. Consider making all necessary-to-know contexts (which owner of a 2016 car must be contacted regarding a recall notice for example) mostly automated, between machine-to-machine, while making most no-need-to-know scenarios (which Starbucks locations or grocery stores are most visited for example) managed by the owner, so they define who gets access to this type of information. 
  • To respect the privacy of users while also understanding trends, consider aggregating data usage for specific locations, genders, backgrounds, etc.,
  • A Knowledge-As-A-Service or Data-As-A-Service model empower users to control who has access to their patterns of behavior and usage and even charge interested others to get that information from them.
  • Reward people for successfully hacking into a system, to help keep in front of the professional hacking companies!
  • Do understand the preferences of your customers so that you can anticipate their preferences and tendencies, but don’t keep enough data so that their privacy is compromised.
  • Limit access to sensitive data only to those who need-to-know, and know why and in which contexts they need to know.
  • Particularly sensitive areas around data include healthcare and children. Both areas have many support groups and many policies managing how data is used and exchanged. 
  • We have enough data and information to be able to mitigate risks and manage and understand risk profiles, and even anticipate security breaches. There’s a business opportunity to serve companies charged with managing the security of their data and assets.

As leaders, be the conscience of the company and fluctuate between the big picture and the execution pieces to proactively navigate that balance between security, access and privacy.

Being Human in an Age That’s Digital

July 12, 2016

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.