Embracing Business Transformation through Digital Technology Should be a ‘No-Brainer’
Part 1 of decision-fatigue, Could Decision Fatigue Be Bogging Your Customers Down? introduced the idea that offering consumers too many choices is not efficient for generating sales and acquiring new customers. In Part 2, Is Decision Fatigue Sucking the Life from Your Employees?, we explored the negative effects brought on by decision-making fatigue at work. In this final installment of decision fatigue, learn how organizations can increase efficiency and maximize profitability by embracing business transformation through digital technology.
Many people suffer from decision fatigue forced on them by their employers. Pouring over mounds of data to be analyzed, or performing mindless or tedious tasks ad nauseam can, quite literally, perpetuate decision fatigue to the point where it can deplete their ability to have good judgement¹. However, in a world increasingly dependent on technology and its advancements, taking the steps to digitally transform an organizations appears to be a “no-brainer.” To integrate the use of technology is to transform the organization.
Technology is a medium that can help companies ease the decision-making process for employees. However, it does not eliminate the need for people to navigate their internal systems, but requires fewer technical and process-oriented roles which can be replaced with big-picture, strategic employees. Time-consuming and laborious processes can often be streamlined by technology and, as stated in previous articles, companies want to make processes as efficient as possible.
Technology Enables Efficacy
Digital technology capabilities are increasing dramatically. Take for example, the beauty of Microsoft Excel Macros and Pivot Tables. These applications have enabled countless people to analyze millions of data points in a matter of seconds, something that would have previously taken days or weeks to manually compile.
The need for digital transformation within companies is imminent given the technological changes coming about, revolutionizing how businesses do business. There are machines that can do the job of 100 people with more efficiency and less overhead. At Alibaba, new technology enables each employee to be responsible for managing at least $10.9 million in gross merchandise volume per year². The company would not have the means to manage that volume of business without using technology to their advantage.
Instead of leaving countless decisions up to decision-fatigued employees, automated processes can make them more efficiently, streamlined, and scalable. Chinese factories are one example. In factories, even with low labor wages, Chinese manufacturers are moving to automation because robots don’t have to think or make decisions, but rather perform one function over and over again. The same way. Every time. One factory in China used robots to automate their processes and, as a result, was almost 250% more productive and reduced their defect rate by 80% on all manufactured products³. Instead of managing for employee defects, many companies are using technology to increase productivity, thereby increasing profitability.
Technology Creates Convenience
Think about the last time you went furniture shopping. The showroom was bright and spacious and your favorite vignette was roomy and handsomely appointed. You bought every piece only to discover once you got everything home, it wasn’t going to fit! If only there was an app for that. Today, 3-D and augmented reality companies have created the best way to try furniture without going through the process of bringing it home then realizing it doesn’t fit the space or match the decor. The same technology that brought Pokémon Go to millions is the same technology that helps shoppers see the exact dimensions of a couch in their living room before they buy4. Other virtual reality applications help shoppers find an item they want by the location of an aisle of a store5. This does not eliminate the need for sales people, but rather adapts their role into the bigger picture of customer-centric sales.
Self-service fast food is rapidly expanding into the marketplace. With major chains such as McDonald’s, Panera Bread and Wendy’s using self-service kiosks so customers can personalize and save their orders, customers are more satisfied than ever with their fast food experience6. In Boston, McDonald’s took their innovation a step further and created a vending machine for their Big Macs, allowing customers to have zero interaction with another human7. Pizza ATMs, first tested at Xavier University, had students thinking that for the taste, cost, and quality, the pizza is a great deal8, 9. In 2016, Amazon completed its first test of food delivery by a drone, and is getting more approval to do so10.
Companies such as Measure and Amazon are using Drones-as-a-Service, affording many different industries the use of drone technologies to expand their business capabilities11. This provides increased safety and decreased costs for many jobs including media coverage, wind turbine maintenance, micro-siting, mapping, real-time data analysis and surveillance.
Technology Drives Disruption
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the wave of the future that will eventually connect all kinds of devices to analyze and provide practical solutions for efficiency in every location, from home, to construction, to business. IoT currently has a global network of over 1,092 specialist companies with details of 1,489 IoT communication enabler products, and growing daily as of August 1, 201712. Humans can’t compete with a machine that can send information and data to thousands of other machines in a split second, nor would someone want to report the state of a piece of equipment or its need for maintenance 24-hours a day.
McKinsey’s Global Institute analyzed that the following industries would be disrupted from automation in the future (See Figure 1)
Figure 1: McKinsey Global Institute Age of Analytics13
As developing technology changes the way businesses operate, it is not a time for companies to fear, but to adapt. In 1900, about 40% of the U.S. population was employed in agriculture. Today, this figure has dropped to less than 2% with labor being redeployed into other sectors, including manufacturing14. During this time, the national GDP and average household income increased. Over the last 25 years, a third of new jobs created in the United States did not previously exist, or barely existed15. There is still an overwhelming need for people to help navigate the exciting new world of technology. While some industries will benefit from decreased labor costs, most will more likely enjoy increased rates of productivity and capabilities from advanced technology, helping companies eliminate decisions by using machines programmed to complete the desired results.
Make decisions easy for your employees, company and customers. Think about the customer. Think about your employees. Adapt for the future. Make each decision a no-brainer.
3 Andrei, M. (2017). Chinese factory replaces 90% of human workers with robots. Production rises by 250%, defects drop by 80%. Retrieved August 18, 2017 from http://www.zmescience.com/other/economics/china-factory-robots-03022017/
4 Yurieff, K. (2017). This Shopping App Lets You See a Virtual Couch in Your Real Living Room, CNN Tech, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/03/technology/houzz-3d-augmented-reality-shopping/index.html
5 Oswald, E. (2017). 5 tech trends that will change the world in 2017, Digital Trends, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/technology-trends-2017/2/
6 Johnson, H. (2016). Fast Food Workers Are Becoming Obsolete, Business Insider, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from http://www.businessinsider.com/self-service-kiosks-are-replacing-workers-2016-5
7 Filloon, W. (2017). McDonald’s New Big Mac ATM Requires Zero Human Interaction, Eater, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from https://www.eater.com/2017/1/26/14400334/big-mac-atm-mcdonalds
8 Hatic, D. (2016). Pizza ATM Joins Cupcake ATM as Americans Get Lazier and Lazier, Eater, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from https://www.eater.com/2016/9/1/12753238/pizza-atm-xavier-university
9 Williams, G. (2016). America’s First Pizza ATM Is A Hit — And Part Of An Expanding Menu Of Food Choices At Colleges, Forbes-Food and Agriculture, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffwilliams/2016/08/31/worlds-first-pizza-atm-is-a-hit-and-part-of-an-expanding-menu-of-food-choices-at-colleges/#6fa0f6e57a63
10 Chang, L. (2016). Watch Amazon Make Its First Real Drone Delivery, Digital Trends, Retrieved August 8, 2017 from https://www.digitaltrends.com/business/amazon-prime-drone/
11 Measure. (2017). Homepage, Measure, Retrieved August 11, 2017 from http://www.measure.com/
12 IoT Global Network. (2017). Directory of IoT companies, by IoT, Retrieved August 5, 2017 from http://www.iotglobalnetwork.com/list/companies
13 Henke, N., Bughin, J., Chui, M., Manyika, J., Saleh, T., Wiseman, B., & Sethupathy, G. (2016). The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world. McKinsey Global Institute, 4.
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