I own a tech company. It feeds my family and gives me a purpose. It serves me well when mortgage lenders or title companies (or other types of firms, for that matter) decide to use one of my technological solutions in order to free up manpower or cut costs.
But I won’t lie to you. No matter what industry you’re in, the vast majority of technology is not a “throw-it-over-the-fence” solution. If anything, be wary of people selling you on the concept of automation as a substitute for the human touch when it comes to the challenge being solved by that solution.
Can technology empower better use of your staff’s time? Yes! Can it make them more efficient and productive? Yes! Can it save you money; eliminate redundancies and errors and even improve your staff morale? Of course!
But, for the most part, it won’t do this on its own.
Remember when the Automated Valuation Model (AVM) was introduced? It was decried by many appraisers as an effort to eliminate their livelihood to save a few bucks. But some appraisers spoke up. These forward-thinking pros acknowledged that how they’d do their jobs would change. But valuation would still require a human touch to decipher rules-based data collection. At the time, this was referred to as “Appraiser-Assisted AVMs.”
Technology is a wonderful thing. It can bring sea change and inspire innovation by expanding what’s possible and allowing more time to be spend on things other than redundant, time-sucking tasks. But, like any tool, any technology at any level will have a weakness; something it was not designed to address. It will need to be guided when anomalies arise. It will need the data or information it was designed to work with. After all, “garbage in; garbage out!”
Ours is a sales-focused industry. Our markets tend to be cyclical, so we are conditioned to put all hands on deck to reel in the fish when they’re biting. Thus, we like to outsource the stuff that isn’t directly related to revenue generation. In that general sense, technology is a great solution. But it’s not an excuse to cut the same staff in place to address the challenges to now be addressed by the new technology. Instead, it’s an opportunity to repurpose your team—both to oversee and maximize that technology as well as to assist in other areas where your business needs them.
Ideas or suggestions for future topics? Have something you’d like to say to the readers of Deeper Thoughts? Please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.