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Humans, leave the data processing to computers

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By Simon Jagers

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We are living in a world of rapidly developing computer ability. Without a doubt, this growth is going to change the role of humans in the workplace. While we ourselves and some of our abilities will never be replaced by computers, it makes sense for businesses of all stripes to develop ways in which humans and technology can find a symbiotic relationship. We need to find a scenario in which what we do best as humans can interact and grow alongside what computers do best.

The best place to start is with data processing and analysis. While humans are still an intrinsic part of increasing operational efficiency through data analysis, it’s important to point out and accept that computers have the capability to process enormous amounts of data extremely quickly to find correlations and patterns. It’s with the help of these patterns that we, as inspectors of the data computers present us, can make decisions that enable our companies to operate more efficiently.

As humans, we need to stick to what we do best. And there are many things that we are firmly better at than computers. Creativity, for one, is a skill that is extremely hard to program into a computer, regardless of how advanced or intelligent it is. Humans also excel at non-structured problem solving and, while it may seem obvious, we benefit from our simply being human and our ability to empathize, relate to others and express emotions. It’s these things that, with the help of computers to process and analyze data, can enable better-informed choices, higher efficiency and overall growth. But this is only possible if we evolve with computers, not fight against them.

Before the advent of powerful technology, many business decisions were made based on fairly qualitative and often unreliable information. Managers might use a gut feeling or a hunch to decide whether a machine needed a part replaced, for example. Of course there are stories of where this approach has worked, but the majority of cases show that collecting huge amounts of data and using computers to process it greatly reduces the unknown and enables managers to make better, more informed decisions. The speed and accuracy of computers eliminates the risk of human error and our inherent slowness to act or pivot based on a quickly changing environment.

As a professional or businessman in 2016, what’s paramount is developing a way in which we humans can leverage our skills in tandem with those of computers. It’s that combination that will bring true innovation and put a company firmly in the 21st century. As we said above, deferring to the prowess of computer analysis on reams of data is one way to do this—a way that can help you make informed decisions regarding nearly every aspect of your business.

From monitoring and predicting when an industrial asset might fail to refining your supply chain, letting computers process data and using the results to make decisions will be an invaluable resource that will help you save money, improve efficiency and remain competitive in the technology era. What’s more, as computers grow even more advanced and take over part of the decision-making process, you’ll be a step ahead of the curve with the knowledge and understanding of how to use data analysis to improve your business. It will become second nature to you, your team and your company and will enable an easy transition to new technologies that will streamline decision-making, better inform your actions, and send you forth as a company of the future.

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