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Is digital revolution taking the human out of the equation?

Digital transformation has fast become an essential to every business, irrespective of the scale of operation. With multiple technologies evolving and changing the competitive landscape irrevocably, businesses face the need to be agile in rethinking traditional approaches and building efficient new operational models. Digital transformation is opening up multiple new avenues for businesses to transform themselves into more efficient units. From AI to automation to Machine learning to cloud-based services – technologies are disrupting the way businesses primarily function. As businesses increasingly move towards this environment, questions about job security are on the rise among workforce of companies.

The current business scenario

With cut throat competition in every field, the need to cut down cost and improving operational efficiency has become imperative. Technology fast becoming the go-to solution in order for companies to achieve better margins in the long run. Businesses are trying to cut down the manual labor that goes into performing repetitive tasks and replacing with them with technological solutions like automating processes with RPAs and Machine learning. This would primarily affect jobs that do not necessitate human involvement or thought.

For example, the task of handling routine questions that customer care executives handle, are now being replaced with chatbots, with the use of technologies like Natural Language Processing. This would bring down the number of executives needed to handle the same amount of calls, streamlining the entire customer care process. This line of rethinking business processes has resulted in impacting systems across domains like automotive assemble lines that need zero human intervention, retail stores that are completely automated, virtual assistants, appliance control mechanisms based on sensors and more. Currently such systems work best when the process has minimal analytical needs or needs that can be solved using analytical solutions based on mathematical models. With technologies like big data and data analytics at the heart of business processes, automation is a juggernaut that will knockdown several traditional methodologies.

Change in employee mindset and definition

Technology is the also acting as the new equalizer. It is taking out the barriers like location, age, experience etc. from the equation. With a generation that is increasingly tech savvy, the talent pool of youngsters with high technological capabilities is becomingly increasingly common. Businesses today are more interested in whether or not someone can deliver results. A breed of technologically adept workforce will thus define the future of how a business works.

It would also create dynamic teams that can be formed by putting together a set of individuals from multiple talent pools, for a limited period of time to complete a project, then disbanded and re-assigned when the task is complete. These teams can include resources that are not on full-time payroll, but can be hired based on need or are picked from resource outsourcers.

With the distinct advantages it offers, the progress of technology in business simply cannot go backwards. Digital revolution can also be a powerful motivator for the workforce to upskill. In fact, technology is already putting people on their toes and ensuring nobody gets complacent about the irreplaceable nature of their jobs. It has lit a fire that would motivate employees to continuously polish and update their skill set.

Integration of technology with the human touch

What most fail to realize is that, though it might seem like AI and automation would handle most of the jobs an executive could, the reality is that there still are a whole host of functions that would require a human agent. Most technologies still have miles to go before they reach par human or beyond human capabilities in a lot of domains. Innately human capabilities like creativity, ability to apply common sense and building and sustaining human interactions are fast becoming valuable skills to possess.

The best technologies would in fact streamline processes such that they complement and support the business processes that still would require human intervention. For example, building a creative campaign for a low fuel consumption car would require understanding the mindset of a consumer would still require a human agent who can understand and empathize with a customer. However, the campaign could use data analytics to assess the best possible time the digital launch of the ads could happen based on existing customer data and social media analytics. Thus, when technological solutions are integrated seamlessly with the human elements of business processes, the best of both worlds can be reaped from the exercise.

Thus, the future of business is not painted with a monochrome of IT or human by digital transformation. Instead digital transformation would create a confluence of the two and take away the routine or button pushing responsibilities away from humans, leaving them to focus on building creative new solutions to problems. Yes, certain business processes would evolve to become zero human intervention, but it would also give rise to use cases that need uniquely human capabilities to build solutions as well.

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