Balancing technology and human input

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With so much technology around today, sometimes it’s hard to know where the technology stops and the human input begins. Looking at this from a business planning perspective, here at Innovar, we have many years’ experience to identify the need for technology but also where human input is also needed. Here are a few examples:

Collaborative working

To be effective every company needs its employees to work as a team sharing information and knowledge. Technology can be a good medium for collecting shared information either in a database or via group chats etc. The important point to note is that once technology has been used to collect the relevant information it is the human aspect that will decide how it is to be used and for what purpose.

Decision Making

This is a key management skill that all managers must have. Again technology can help as managers can use systems and data to analyse ‘what if’ scenarios and model different ideas but at the end of the day the decisions made and the priority given to those decisions will be down to the manager.

Scheduling

No doubt every business has targets and milestones it is trying to achieve. Technology can be used to map progress and determine whether the company is on track but it will be people that are carrying out the tasks to achieve the targets and it will be down to them to put in the correct data and timescales they are working to, in order that the technology can give an accurate picture to show where the company is against its targets.

Using Assumptions

Quite often, particularly when planning there will be an initial set of assumptions made to start the process. Again technology can help. If the company has accurate historical data or industry benchmarks these could be a good starting point for creating the assumptions. However, the people who create the plans should re-visit their assumptions from time to time and update them based on new data.

Detailed V Overview Data

With the magnitude of data available in a company, technology is the only realistic way of keeping and managing it. This data can be used to analyse different aspects of the company at different levels of detail. However sometime the data should be sanity checked to make sure the data is still making sense and this needs to be done by a person. Taking an overview of the data and maybe viewing it in graph format should give an indication of how reliable and accurate the data is.

To conclude, the choice between technology and human input is a balance between time, cost and practicality. There are times when technology is the only reasonable way to achieve a task but at the end of the day it is human input that will have the final say.