Is your digital strategy built on human and machine, or human with machine?

By

Hermann Sidhu

EY Global Assurance Digital Leader

Driving large-scale connectivity and digital innovation across the Assurance practice with game-changing technologies and practices.

3 minute read 26 Apr 2018

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Only by collaborating can human and machine make technological advances valuable to business and wider society.

The world is shifting. Business needs and stakeholder demands are changing. And one of the main influencers of this movement is technology. With every new application and development, the technological revolution is opening up the corporate world to endless possibilities.

Businesses are certainly feeling the pressure to adapt to digital and be seen to be utilizing the latest innovations. Yet, how valuable are these technological advances to business, and to society more widely?

This question is particularly relevant as politicians, business leaders, economists and entrepreneurs prepare to head to Davos for the 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The theme at Davos is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and the conversations will focus on international collaboration.

But collaboration can take many forms, and we should not forget what can be achieved when humans fully harness the power of technology. For me, the value of technological innovation is most easily seen by creating a process that delivers real progression, helping, rather than hindering human advancement. One that provides us with an enhanced perspective. And one that is best achieved by the collaboration of humans and machines.

So how do we achieve this?

1). Cut through the hype: Understand the real impact technology can have on your processes, people and solutions, now and in the future. It is important to look purposefully at the ways technology can improve existing, or create new, processes to improve business activities. But you need to build a digital approach from the frontline out so that the ideas generated are focused on responding to business, client and stakeholder needs and issues. It is not about implementing flashy new technology simply for the sake of it.

2). Don’t operate in silos: Avoid using technologies on a one-off basis. Maximize the impact that innovations offer by connecting different technologies, and then combining them with human capability. That is when you deliver a game-changing solution. Take robotic process automation (RPA), for example, a technology that 40% of high-growth entrepreneurs intend to implement over the next decade. RPA can help to automate repetitive, high-volume tasks. When used alone it has great advantages, such as increasing the speed, efficiency and accuracy of manual tasks. This in itself is progress. Yet, if machine learning is added, you reach another layer of sophistication – optimizing the potential of combined technology to improve existing processes or create new and improved ones.

3). Think people with technology: The crucial factor is how we connect technology and human capability in a digital ecosystem. It is the art of collaboration – human and machine combining forces to deliver the best that innovation offers.

Everyone wants to play a role in how their future is determined, and for very many of us it is now shaped by technology. It is disrupting much of what we know and at great speed, yet digital technology has the ability to make jobs more interesting and valuable. Utilizing the combined power of humans and machines has to be the ultimate innovation. And it is the only one that will truly bridge divisions to progress forward.

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Summary

To create valuable applications for innovative technology and inclusive growth, humans and machines must collaborate.

About this article

By

Hermann Sidhu

EY Global Assurance Digital Leader

Driving large-scale connectivity and digital innovation across the Assurance practice with game-changing technologies and practices.