I recently read an article on how the increase in data availability and machine intelligence would change the labor market.
I believe the insights it brings to management are extremely important, particularly at this time, when there is so much investment in data, either through M&As or through “Big Data” software and consultants.
- Machines can do data crunching better. If anyone’s job can be substituted by a machine, then this represents a risk for their careers – and an opportunity for downsizing.
- However, machines cannot contextualize. People can. The value that someone brings in business should be complementary to data, and rely heavily in the general understanding of a sector, creativity and intuition.
- Businesses are not ready for the change. The increase in the amount of data, its quality and smarter software, will have people misplaced. A new way of management will have to appear with a focus in motivation and leadership, rather than technical expertise.
From my experience, I’ve seen a tendency in businesses to believe that more and better data automatically lead to improved performance. That is not the case. The key to unlock value from data, and from all the investments in systems and software, is in the people. From the data analyst that interprets the data, to the salesperson that uses it facing customers. And, above them, the marketeer. The one ultimately responsible for tying all the knots, connecting all the dots and driving the business forward – the rise of the “generalist”. The age of the marketer is here.