By Peter Armaly
“The man in constant fear is every day condemned.”
– Publilius Syrus, c. 50 BC
Addressing change and encouraging change are what our Transformation Services team pitches. We don’t create change; we simply help people understand how to deal with it. Without change, our team wouldn’t even exist. Without change, the world wouldn’t have Netflix. We would still be watching reruns of Cheers on network television at a set time every Thursday evening, or we’d be reading books by the light of a kerosene lamp, or writing long-form letters with a quill.
The world changes all the time; it’s an immutable fact of life. It also happens to be a fact that is belied by the persistent fear that runs through much of the corporate world, which finds itself bracing against winds of disruption from digitally-native competitors and advances in technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI). When faced with these disruptive forces, many companies blink with denial and hope their tried and true models will withstand the competitive threat. A defensive do-nothing stance, however, is not a good strategy. Instead, companies should be running head-on to confront these changes.
This topic has been front of mind after a recent team meeting where we discussed how we could help our customers prepare their marketing practices for the future and not just the present. In our past lives as IT practitioners, we would refer to the action of preparing systems for external threat as “hardening”.
It’s a different paradigm now when we consider what companies must do to prepare themselves to face external forces of disruption. To describe it, I’ll say that hardening alone is not the goal; it’s graphene-ization (I added the suffix). Graphene is, “the hardest material in the world, but also one of the most pliable.”
That’s what we want for our clients. We want to help them build environments that are strong, agile, and adaptive and that can do more than just provide a great defense. They should be able to flex and bend to absorb and exert pressure at the same time.
AI as an Opportunity
To achieve that goal we have many other related goals, all of equal importance. One goal is to allay the fear many people have around Artificial Intelligence. Oracle builds AI into its products but that’s not why our team pushes it. We encourage it because as a technology, it makes good sense for our clients’ customers, our clients’ businesses, and our clients’ employees.
For employees, we believe AI can be beneficial for those who are stymied by many of the various signs of a disengaged buyer/customer and their shifting habits because it offers the opportunity to take on tasks no human can possibly handle. It’s one thing for humans to gather, using traditional programmatic methods, the online and offline data on their buyers and customers. But it’s something else entirely to take all that data and assess it in near real-time in order to discern customer behavior pattern in hopes to produce automated, insight-driven, and business-impacting actions. How will AI help customers? They’ll be the recipients of more specific, relevant, and pertinent messaging; more personalized service; and more control over their experiences with vendors.
Have No Fear
Fear can be a motivator but it can also act as a drag on forward momentum. One of our hopes is to be able to shed light on the areas of technology and process rejuvenation that can cause fear but that can also provide beneficial and substantial ROI. Artificial Intelligence carries such a promise and you might find this series of videos from McKinsey a helpful supplement to that argument. At roughly 2.5 minutes for each of the five videos, industry experts share why AI is indispensable for the modern corporation, and that despite the media hype and hyperbole. AI is not about sentience and it’s not something to be feared.
Build a strong, adaptive company for the future. Take a look at what’s coming. Take a look at the Future of Modern Marketing: 2017.
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