Technology: The Crucial Enabler

By John Dillard


A couple of posts ago, we talked about the shocking growth in the volume of data available to companies, and the increasing need for competent data scientists to process all of that information. As most of you know, technology is also driving rapid change in many industries -- but certain technologies make the change occurring in knowledge work far more dramatic and destabilizing.

Three technologies that stand out as being exceptionally important in the Microslices world -- where advice-giving is increasing automated, specialized, and ultra fast:

  1. Big data -- both buzzword and breakthrough, big data means that advice givers will have an exponentially growing source of data from which to draw conclusions.  
  2. Machine Learning and AI -- no longer science fiction, the opening of both IBM and Google’s machine learning platforms to developers means that things you used to pay advisers to do -- like examine a process or evaluate your culture -- will be the domain of human-machine partnership.

  3. Open APIs -- as open APIs proliferate, it will allow companies, people, and applications to connect in new, inventive ways that will enable a “networked delivery model” that will make many professional services firms seem like one (in the eyes of the buyer).

When all of this comes together, change and innovation within consulting are accelerated greatly, and, to put it simply, good things happen for you and your company. You’re hiring a consulting firm to help your business run more smoothly and accomplish more and more every day, so you want to be sure that firm is doing all that it can to effectively analyze the ridiculous amount of information available to you and your company.

Not every executive needs to be a tech guru.  However, to be a competent leader -- especially a leader who buys advice from lawyers, consultants, accountants, and other professionals -- you must have a basic understanding of how technology can augment these services, and an expectation that any firm you hire can adequately utilize technology in the services they offer.

Don’t get me wrong, technology isn’t everything when it comes to professional services, but it -- along with seismic changes in data science and culture -- mean that the business of buying and selling advice is rapidly changing. Ignore this at your peril.