The light side of Data: the irreplaceable value of the human side (even in IT)
Despite this scientific value, we should never lose sight of the fact that behind data, there are human beings.
This is the age of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence – Everything is measurable and can be tracked by numbers and KPIs that allow us to understand the performance of our campaigns, thus constantly improving our strategies’ execution.
The intrinsic objectivity of data is invaluable for all of us who work with these large numbers every day, as without it, calculating ROI wouldn’t be possible. Despite this irrefutable scientific value, we should never lose sight of the fact that behind the screens, behind the purchase of a product or a service, there are human beings.
Does this mean we need to take a step back and review our processes?
Of course not. Evolution has always been essential for our existence on Earth, which is why opposing technological and scientific progress would make little to no sense; instead, it should be encouraged and supported.
The potential and advantages that hidden in data are now visible and present in our everyday life, simplifying it in many ways. Just think, for example, of parking assistance, restaurant reservation apps and, if we stick to a context that concerns all of us, we see advancements in vaccines, clinical trials and the healthcare offer in general.
At this point, I would like to focus on a verb I used before, namely ‘simplify’. Let me explain: notifications with suggestions, best actions and everything that these tools show us to perform a certain action with the best possible outcome, do not imply that it's the only choice we have. In fact, at the front and back-end of every technological process or decision there is a human being who should be supported by these tools, and not replaced. This is why, when we talk about Artificial Intelligence Solutions, we should think of something that makes the lives of the workforce easier (eliminating automation or streamlining certain operations), without replacing them.
Choose a technology that improves the way you work without overwhelming you.
We are often faced with ethical-technological debates discussing the positive and negative aspects of new technologies. However, I again want to emphasize that as users, we make the real difference.
According to a McKinsey report on tech for good (a term that indicates a community’s willingness to address social, economic and environmental challenges through collaboratively and ethically built technology), “Companies can harness the benefits of the current technology wave by adopting an approach of enlightened self-interest. At the company level, a workforce that is better trained, less stressed, healthier, and happier will also be more productive, more adaptable, and better able to drive the technology adoption and innovation surge that will boost revenue and earnings.” The benefits and advantages we can gain from the correct use of data become tangible even when dealing with something seemingly as abstract as customer relations. Let’s suppose now that, alongside the individual’s personal ability to communicate, there is a tool that can support said person implementing a concrete multichannel strategy by using a single metric to measure customer activity and interactions with companies, their products and services.
The result? A more holistic, integrated experience resulting in higher Engagement rate, but most importantly, happier customers.
So, what should you do? Find your balance!
Within some contexts – especially in the pharmaceutical industry – when structuring a marketing campaign, for example, it is important to keep in mind that you are not simply selling a product or scheduling meetings back to back, but interacting with people, such as physicians.
We talked about this in our podcast episode “Customer Engagement: how to match customer expectations with strategy” (listen to it here) with Fabio De Luca – CMO of Angelini Pharma, where we discussed the creation of messages that touch the extremely personal and subjective sphere of health. Since this is such an important topic, reducing everything to KPIs could be misleading. However, it is interesting to understand how we can intelligently leverage technological tools and solutions to build relationships and spread messages with a strong scientific and ethical value (as you might know, there are very strict rules regulating this field and safeguarding each of us).
This does not mean that the effectiveness of the strategies put in place should not be measured. On the contrary, it is important to remember that today there are valid tools that support companies, optimizing processes and increasing customer engagement through personalized and automated Customer Journey.
So, what does it mean? Simply that data is neither Dark nor Light and that, even though it can somehow facilitate all our operations, it still should not replace our ability to think and choose to make a difference.