THE BLOG

The Art And Science Of Automation

09/05/2017 11:09 BST | Updated 09/05/2017 11:09 BST

Is the future workplace being taken over by robots? In today's world where processes are being increasingly automated, this seems like a scenario not too obscure to imagine. As technology advances, there is a heightening concern as to what place that leaves for a human workforce in the rapidly approaching future. In a recent joint study conducted by researchers at Oxford University and consultants Deloitte, it was found that due to the nature of their work and the expected advance of machine intelligence, there is a 95% chance that chartered accountants would be replaced by some form of automation in the course of 20 years. Furthermore, the trend appears to be leaving no industry untouched, with expectations that driverless cars and trucks will threaten or at least alter 2.2 million to 3.1 million jobs in the US. President Obama recognized this potential threat in his farewell speech in Chicago, where he said "the next wave of economic dislocations won't come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of middle class jobs obsolete".

Besides accounting and finance other fields such as marketing have also been heavily influenced by automation. Big Data and Machine Learning has transformed this field. Using realms of knowledge on consumer behaviour and the oceans of data to be found on each company's CRM, automation has resulted in the field of predictive analytics in marketing which is being effectively employed by companies worldwide. Other pertinent examples of automation can be seen in the method of communication. Non-obtrusive messages can be displayed to clients in the form of email, sms or push notifications in the moments after a customer has engaged with a company to either make an enquiry, request a newsletter or register for a webinar. In those critical moments after the client has left their contact details, they are automatically contacted with an offer of further assistance, to the proven effect of considerably enhancing the probability of a purchase being made.

Although there is no denying the importance of data science and automation in marketing, creating the right balance of automation and human input is the strategy firms need to apply to achieve success. Human input in the marketing process such as visual design, catchy content, branding and being able to form a crucial bond with the consumer are all critical elements of successfully marketing any product. Customers expect personal relationships with brands. The goal is to effectively employ data acquired from the automation process and use it to deliver personalized experiences to customers.

Taking the example of the finance industry, the strategy to amalgamate technology and human interaction together has also been reiterated by Mr. Kobi Gur, CEO of Leverate, a premier broker solutions provider. Narrating the experience of his company he says that "the marketing automation system that we have developed synthesizes both the technical element, where clients are consistently contacted at the exact time in why they are prime for conversion, and yet also incorporates a human element, where personal contact is made by a customer service person who provides that important human aspect of listening and seeking to address the needs of the client. This combination of technology and personalization, is what makes a marketing automation funnel work and how it achieves its proven results throughout the course of the client's life time."

Yet even at that level before any marketing strategy is implemented, the combination of machine and human intelligence can help companies to make the right decisions. While many companies aspire to be more data-driven, simultaneously executives still value their human intuition and intelligence, even if that data tells that their intuition is off. In a Forbes' executive brief titled "Data-Driven: Big Decisions in the Intelligence Age" sponsored by PwC, the survey found that almost 59% of decision makers say that they primarily rely on human judgement rather than on machine algorithms. The executives said that they use their own intuition and understanding to frame the problem and help them ask the right questions.

In this age of technology, the winners are those business leaders who can seize the opportunity and can weigh the power and influence of artificial and human intelligence, finding a balanced path between the two. Knowing how customers engage with your brand on digital and physical channels and then designing and automating personalized campaigns to engage throughout the lifecycle is the strategy towards success. No matter how advanced technology may become, natural instincts will always have the upper hand.