March of the Machines

"He's more machine now than man" - Obi Wan Kenobi on Darth Vader - Return of the Jedi

Someone brought to our attention an article the other day, within it the author claimed that soon CEO’s will be asking devices like Alexa – ‘What’s my profit on this range of customers?’ – ‘What sectors should we now pursue?’ etc. etc. rather than use ‘elite consultants’.

Given that we are consultants, although I would never describe Tinderbox as ‘elite’, it made me think about just what a machine might do in the future that affects the need for the human touch.

One of the problems of machine driven solutions is that in many instances they are formulaic and one size fits all. This means that solutions are generic and whilst derived undoubtedly from ‘best practice’ may not work in the face of specific and unique challenges. The human brain can still solve far more diverse problems than a machine and come up with the right solutions but only when challenged to do so.

The under-utilisation of human brain power within businesses is one of the tragedies of our time because the more powerful the machine the less the human brain is needed. Think about the reliance on calculators and spreadsheets etc. that calculate for you. It means that our brain doesn’t need to do these things because a machine can do it for us – without human error – provided the figures entered are accurate! We use about 5% of our brain power on average throughout our lives – and that figure has got to be getting smaller.

Now I am not suggesting that we should revert to the days of long addition, rulers, pencils etc. The fact that we have something that can save us doing this routine work quickly and accurately is great progress – but how are we using the our spare brain capacity further released by these modern tools? We should be applying far more of our brain to creative business solutions, diversification, fresh opportunities. Asking ‘why can’t we’ instead of sticking with ‘it can’t be done.’

Businesses with people at their head who utilise both the modern tools we have at our disposal and the brain power that sits within their organisation will continue to lead their markets.

Of course AI machines can and will learn. Good examples are Siri and IBM Deep Blue (currently the World Chess Champion). These systems and others will improve their competency over time and the only question is what level they will achieve. What we haveright now though is a massively under-utilised resource – the human brain.

So where does consultancy go? What is the way forward? We believe that providing clients with support from people who have real business experience and have, effectively, sat in the same positions as the clients we talk to is important. As a result of this experience and knowledge it is easier to understand the exact situation and carve out a personalised and practical solution based on best practice. I met a client a few weeks ago who had a dim view of consultants in general having used a few – ‘if anybody else tells me we need a SWOT analysis I will not be responsible for my actions’ he said. There is nothing wrong with a SWOT analysis but when it is purely part of a formulaic solution it’s not the specific answer businesses need. When part of a total solution that attacks the cause of problems and challenges it remains a potent tool.

That’s how we work and supported by the advances in those ‘machines’ we will continue to make a big difference to our clients’ business performance.

For help and support that will make a positive difference to your business contact us

 or call us on 0116 232 5231

Alternatively contact me directly using the details below.

David Turner
Managing Director

07747 023610

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