Cognitive Automation and the Pressure of “Innovate or Die”
The first motorcars appeared around 1900 and they were initially no success. Early cars were expensive and unreliable. Tires went flat as often as once or twice a day on an all-day trip!
Henry Ford worked to improve their machines and lower the cost. By 1908, his Model T was inexpensive, reliable and built to run well on country roads and in small towns. It was simple to take care of, and the cost was low enough so that many people could buy it. The speed at which people traveled in a Model T (20 miles per hour) greatly reduced the time it took to get from one place to another. It wasn’t long before several motor car companies were producing inexpensive vehicles. Soon the whole country was on wheels.
Society has always had growing pains with its stepsister technology, but as its utility and utter near-necessity became clear, technology was always embraced and incorporated into society.
Nowadays small and big businesses alike are under increasing pressure to keep pace in the race of ensuring execution, compliance with current trends, competitiveness, market share and relevance in their area of expertise. It can be quite overwhelming! Big companies find it difficult to change their routines and corporate culture. Small companies can’t find the funding to keep up with the challenges. So much information needed in such a short timespan…
Look at companies like Polaroid, Kodak, Blockbuster, and Borders. They were all steamrollered by waves of shifting consumer behaviour and fast-paced technological advances. The challenges today are paramount: never-ending pressure for cost reduction and the need to address depleting margins, the increasing requirement of skilled resources in the market, the lightning-speed rate of changes in business dynamics with constantly evolving business models.
Automation is becoming key to survival. “Innovate or die” has become the reigning maxim at executive, HR and operations divisions alike. What companies need now is not a technological solution that will be relevant for the next year or two. Solutions need a modular and organic existence. These are popping up in the development of cognitive automation (CA). CA can enable innovation as a continuum of technologies that will help organisations automate both business processes and operations. It will optimize research, development, and implementation in an organisation.
As opposed to basic and enhanced process automation, which are either repetitive in nature or only help in the recognition of unstructured data, cognitive automation enables decision support with the help of advanced decision algorithms. These are interlinked with artificial intelligence technology, evidence-based learning and are capable of analysing enormous amounts of data at high velocities.
Imagine the possibilities for big and small companies alike. Finance and administration departments can sift through enormous amounts of accounts and optimize paying dates with market fluctuations, procurement can optimize purchase order management with suppliers, HR can track attendance and process data for performance reports and hiring, IT can manage its data center and risks, always staying a step ahead of other departments. Imagine this ultimate configuration, where senior management can base decisions on support evidence supplied by cognitive automation.
For the future of big and small business, the pressure of “innovate or die” will be mitigated, being transferred to evidence-based cognitive technology. Every business can stay at pace. And that means more flexibility, better service, higher productivity and increased customer satisfaction. As Ford’s Model T and other early vehicles grew in popularity in society, CA will soon become an integrated element of business models and an indispensable part of decision-making at all levels.