Automation Vs People – The current conundrum


Neeraj Pratap Sangani, CEO of Hansa Cequity

Organizations and brands are in a mad rush to automate. In this case, it seems that the only way to generate value, more aptly called cost cutting is by automating processes. Nothing wrong with that, except that automation, can appear routine until it becomes the foundation for a new way of restructuring organizations and departments, systems and work itself.

A variety of automation technologies are available including – RPA – the most popular one. Then there are tools for understanding text from unstructured data, leveraging intelligent document processing technology, application interaction tools for technologies such as application programming interfaces, process monitoring and organization tools, and Low-code or no-code automation solutions.

Then there are marketing automation tools that help manage campaigns, workflows, etc. Organizations and marketers in general have been in a vice-like grip of automation. I am a proponent of automation, but automation does not mean humanless. There is an innate intelligence that professionals and humans bring to the table and as long as organizations analyze and understand what humans do best and what automation does best in the context of their business, they will have a winner on hand.

Marketing automation software caters to – customer intelligence, social marketing, search marketing, lead scoring, landing pages, customizable CTAs, etc.

Marketing automation helps marketers capture leads, develop connections, and move prospects through the marketing funnel. It combines email, WhatsApp, web push, social media, web marketing, multi-channel marketing, building customer segments based on their actions, personalization based on context or last action is taken, and analytics. Many tools if used intelligently, allow organizations to combine customer data from multiple sources for better customer insights and develop successful marketing strategies. This is where human intervention and intelligence become the prime drivers.

Organizations are increasingly adopting algorithms to dissect info provided by prospects & customers and make favorable or unfavorable decisions about them. Do they want to know where the customer stopped? What is in the cart? How long it is in the cart? What are some of the previous searches? How much time did he spend on the page? Which device is he on? Did he click on the emails sent? etc. Understanding the impact of customer reactions can help organizations make better decisions about when and how to deploy algorithms in marketing campaigns.

Just like Metaverse sometime back, ChatGPT and the recently launched Bard by Google have taken the marketing world by storm and almost everyone has an opinion on how this will unfold. ChatGPT is an advanced AI chatbot trained by OpenAI which interacts conversationally. Bard is a conversational AI chatbot that draws inspiration from LaMDA and Google’s AI chatbot. The war on the bots is truly on. Organizations and brands have for long wanted to communicate with context and more importantly empathetically with customers. Ironically, an AI-driven bot is likely to give the most ‘humane’ response.

With so much happening in automation and technological advances, organizations are ill-equipped to keep pace. Enough has been said about the need to restructure and upskill employees. I also hear a lot of chatter around appointing a Chief of Data Analytics, Chief of Insights, Chief of Automation, Chief Customer Officer, etc., but the need of the hour is for a Chief Collaboration Officer, an interdisciplinary kind of role, who can connect the dots, see and weave patterns that deliver disproportionate return on marketing investments. Having said that, this ‘human’ is a rare breed and organizations need to build this capability and skill over some time, until then bots shall keep coming & grab headlines!

(The article has been authored by Neeraj Pratap Sangani, CEO of Hansa Cequity)

Disclaimer: Content Produced by ET Edge


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