Point of View

Can we tame the business monster? The future of work and technology

August 17, 2021

Paul Roehrig, Chief Strategy Officer, Digital Business & Technology at Cognizant, was recently a part of the star-studded lineup of speakers at our HFS OneOffice™ Digital Symposium. In a Digi-side Chat with our very own Saurabh Gupta, he discussed his recent book; Monster: A Tough Love Letter on Taming the Machines that Rule Our Jobs, Lives, and Future. The inspiration for Paul’s book came from questions clients frequently asked, particularly around the concerns for the technologies they were using—had they created a monster?

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation; meaning enterprises must manage their data effectively to tame the monster

We’ve been talking about digital transformation for some time now, but thanks to the pandemic, the pace of digital adoption has rapidly accelerated. It’s undeniable—digital technologies are reshaping the world as we know it, and for enterprises, that means having an ever-increasing quantity of data. Paul told us about thebeast this has created and how enterprise leaders must tame it if they hope to realize these technologies’ true benefit while maintaining clients’ freedom and privacy. For Paul, the key to taming the monster is managing data better, as it’s impossible to build trust with clients and modernize consumer experience without embracing data.

Paul explained that traditional data organization often ignores critical metrics like customer experience, and enterprises must develop a new modernized manifesto for managing their data effectively, capturing all key metrics. While recognizing such an overhaul is a big investment, he explained that enterprises must look beyond short-term losses and instead focus on long-term benefits, giving them the ability to capitalize on future markets and revenue streams. Furthermore, Paul made the point that investors are increasingly judging companies on their adaptability, assessing their ability to shift and align with ever-changing consumer demands. It’s more important than ever for enterprises to have a modernized data infrastructure.

Exhibit 1: Saurabh chats with Paul

Source: HFS Digital Symposium, June 8-9, 2021

The four key steps enterprises must take to manage their data effectively and tame the monster, according to Paul

But Paul didn’t just introduce problems for enterprises; he also came armed with solutions. While he confessed that these might look like simple adjustments, he explained that they are, in fact, “chunky” concepts to explore. Paul outlined four critical points that enterprises must address:

  1. Embrace modern data stewardship: Paul explained that modern data stewardship means enterprises must assess how their data can drive process excellence and an impeccable customer experience.
  2. Manage the trust paradox: Paul told us he believes our activities do not always align with our intentions, particularly when engaging with technology. Enterprises must manage consumers’ expectations of trust while recognizing its importance and current fragility.
  3. Move from artificial intelligence (AI) to ethical intelligence (EI): There have been countless examples of the unintended consequences of AI in recent years, most notably Microsoft’s Tay bot blunder. Often poor data quality is at the core of such challenges, highlighting the importance of data management when striving for EI.
  4. Recognize the new value algorithm: We’ve already discussed that Paul believes company valuations have shifted toward how adaptable and fit for purpose they are in the post-pandemic economy, rather than simply revenues and margins. Data plays a pivotal role in enterprise adaptability, and it’s something that enterprise leaders must address.
The Bottom Line: Taming the business monster starts and ends with data. Enterprise leaders must address their underlying data challenges to thrive in the post-pandemic economy

As we continue to delve deeper into the digital-enabled world, enterprise leaders must be aware of the business monster they may be creating. In response, they must recognize the importance of their data and ensure they manage it effectively to drive freedom and privacy while continuing to deliver desired outcomes.

Watch the Saurabh Gupta/Paul Roehrig Digi-side Chat

You can read other POVs and a comprehensive ebook about the Symposium, plus watch video highlights of the two-day event, here.

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