Don’t Forget the Human Element along with New Technology

My blog posts and newsletters have been pointing out the value of integrating the new with the old. I have discussed how, if the old way of doing something still has some benefits, there may be room for it in the marketplace even as newer technology becomes available. We’ve seen this unfold in the way bricks and mortar retail has continued to prove valuable in an era of increasing e-commerce. Even Amazon has opened physical stores and has acquired a bricks and mortar grocery chain. Furthermore, highly successful internet marketers are not only opening physical locations, but have also done paper mailings, an additional indication of value in doing some things the old way.

But, integrating the new with the old goes beyond technologies. It also entails the human element. As technology advances and is playing a greater role in today’s society, the human element has often been greatly reduced or, in some cases, eliminated. But, just like older technologies can still have value, the human element that was so important in times past can remain valuable today and in the future.

We’ve seen this with the sophisticated technology for Big Data and artificial intelligence. The technology often works much better when accompanied by human input, rather than relying entirely upon computer generated algorithms.

But, the value of the human element goes far beyond its role in improving data analytics and algorithms.  So, as times change and technology proliferates, the human element must not be forgotten. Exactly what role the human element should play depends upon the company, its culture and its strategy, and even on the outcomes of trying various approaches to see what works.

Of course, a company with a low cost strategy, such as one offering rock bottom prices targeted to a tech savvy market, may not find as much human contact appropriate. But, even then, human contact can prove quite helpful when problems arise. Additionally, the human element can be especially important in many situations, such as for premium products and services, for relationship based businesses, or when the business and its culture are highly oriented toward caring.

The human element is valuable not just for interacting with customers, but also for dealing with employees. The human element can play a role in an organization’s culture and can help recruit and retain talent.

Essentially, the human element is not one size fits all. Each organization needs to determine what role the human element plays in its business.  But, the human element does have value. So, as more and more areas are automated with technology, companies need to recognize the importance of the human element and evaluate what role it should play.

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