Automation: Are You Using 21st Century Tech to Facilitate 19th Century Processes?
I’ve always been fascinated by the time period around the turn of the last century because of the strange juxtaposition of modern technology with ages-old processes. If you walked down the street in 1900, you might see cars lined up with horse drawn carriages and litters pulled by workers. This strange scene of the 20th century’s defining invention, the automobile, lined up with the means of transport that had dominated human history for thousands of years, can’t help but draw your attention. It’s too early to say what the defining invention of the 21st century will be, but clearly this century will be dominated by automation and the growth of technology to undertake repetitive tasks.
From the conspicuous examples of self-driving cars and drones to more subtle examples of marketing, sales automation, and automatic data analysis, technology is working to automate all repetitive tasks in both our personal and professional lives. I can’t help but wonder if in 100 years, people will look back at the early 21st century with amusement at the contrast between automation and old business processes!
21st Century Technology Supporting Ages-Old Business Processes!
If you take a step back and look at our way of life, we are surrounded by a strange contrast of automation that supports processes that haven’t changed for hundreds of years. If you want a mortgage, you fill out all the forms online. Depending on your bank, you get an approval in real time. But then you need to wait weeks for the paper work to be drawn up, and you need to physically go somewhere to sign it. In this case, legislation actually codifies some of the old practices and regulations need to catch up with technology. However, this is a bigger example of this phenomenon that exists in many businesses today.
Do You Write Reports With a Quill and Parchment or Typewriter? Automatic Analysis that takes 30 hours to explain!
Analytics and Business Intelligence have dominated much of businesses IT spending in the last 5 years. First it was data mining, then it was Big Data, and now data lakes are the new mot du jour. Globally, 99% of big companies have automated some portion of data collection and data analysis. However, they are using this 21st century technology to facilitate a process that hasn’t changed in a millennium, the process of writing. Yes, this is a little bit of a hyperbolic statement. Of course, we don’t write on parchment with quills or with a typewriter. The truth is the process is faster with a text editor, but it is still the same: we look at the data, we reason, we write, we edit, we get feedback, and then we publish. It’s a slow manual process that looks the same today as it did in the 19th century!
Automation Must be the Last Mile in Analytics!
Writing reports manually is the last step in the data to data-driven decisions workflow, which is how businesses see the ROI from analytics and Business Intelligence projects. Businesses can’t afford not to automate this last step in the process, especially since there are tools called Natural Language Generation software on the market that solve the problem.In 100 years, we won’t write data-driven content. The idea of manually writing a data-driven reports will seem as bizarre as if I asked you to write on parchment with a quill today. The last mile in data analytics is the writing of reports. It’s where ROI from projects is recovered or lost, and it is fully automatable.
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The Last Mile in Analytics and Business Intelligence