Data Automation, according to J. Lee Anthony, UC Berkeley grad, Stanford alum, Harvard fellow, former professor and director, is “the use of automatic processes, equipment, or systems for the purpose of collecting, processing, and storing data which is obtained from a source, utilizing devices such as optical scanners, bar code readers, or magnetic stripe readers.”
From Datatime Services perspective, the age of reacting to data has passed. Data automation, like everything else, has sped up our business processes and shows no signs of slowing down. We live in an age where real-time information is the key to success, and the future of your business resides in the analysis of this information. Think of every form or bit of paper that you might store that is not available to everyone in your organisation. This approach is redundant!
So have we really hit the stage where we can automate all of your business processes? There are two impressive things to discuss when we bring in the topic of document automation.
Data driven decisions at the speed of light
At Datatime Services, which is part of the PNORS Group of companies, one of our preliminary services is helping customers digitise forms, surveys and other documents so that they are available anytime, anywhere, quickly. How long does it take you and your business to analyse data generated by your everyday forms, surveys, and processes? Sales, customer relationship management, office efficiency, outputs, inputs and every other type of document. You may have it down to a fine art by now, but understand that with analytical data that drives decision-making, any time longer than ‘instant’ is time wasted. Consider modern data usage from two perspectives: ‘proactive’, and ‘reactive’.
Proactive here means decision making that is decentralised, more informed and faster because of document digitisation that ensures your organisation has access to whatever information it needs before it needs it.
Reactive means constantly using hard copy data, sending this and that email around your organisation to locate information, or someone who knows what you need, and making decisions at a much slower rate than your competitors who have mastered data automation.
So here and now, Data Automation can help you take greater control of your business processes and find better ways to spend that manual effort previously taken maintaining hard copy documents. That’s all interesting and useful, but there is even cooler stuff to use data automation for. Let’s talk about predicting the future.
Back to the future
At Datatime and all of the PNORS Group, we are always looking to help our clients grow and be more productive. Understanding how we could position ourselves for the next two phases is part of our culture.
So let's imagine. Once we’ve digitised all your data, and set up processes to automate further data collection, a wide world of predictions and analysis opens up. Predictive analytics has been around for a long, long time, and has always been an extremely labour intensive process. Just ask the first person to ever develop a system for predicting the weather: he did pretty well on his first outing, but it was hard and often inaccurate work. Since then, and especially since the advent of computers, we’ve gotten pretty good at it. But as with everything in life, there’s room for improvement, and the next big thing seems to be real time predictive data analytics.
Once you’ve digitised your data processes, and you’re drawing on the ability to capture and analyse it in real time, it’s not hard to see how extremely clever people are turning them towards plotting future trends, events, and even consumer decisions. The benefits for businesses are so obvious I barely need to go into them. Knowing what the market will do before the market does is the beautiful dream of many a salesperson. And the fact that predictive analytics software is decades old and often used in businesses, make it seem like more than a pipe dream.
But can it be done in real time?
Right now? Unfortunately, not exactly. And if you’re in the market for software like this, buyer beware. That article is an excellent insight into why, but does become quite technical so to summarize their point: time-to-insight – that is, the time to draw abstract conclusions from data like ‘where is the market going to go next’ – cannot possibly be instantaneous on the human end, and for it to be so on the software end would require some advances we haven’t made yet. For software to successfully make predictions about the future based on data, it requires a defined set of possible inputs and outputs – the software has to know what it can guess, before it can guess anything at all. This is certainly possible. But large, ever changing systems like, say, the global economy, are too big to make any guarantees about successful predictions at all, much less in real-time.
Big advances in computer learning will be needed, and are happening. This sort of thing isn’t confined to the realm of science fiction. But a largely accurate and detailed real-time predictive software system for the kinds of data most major businesses generate might take a while – as in, ‘you might find yourself with a robotic butler whilst you wait’, take a while. But in the meantime, digitise your data, then once you do that, consider the less space-age data-analytics stuff that’s on the market right now and see how it can augment your business. You might be pleasantly surprised.
So I hope I have given you a taste of what we do now and what we are looking at in the future. If Data Automation is something you would be interested in to improve your business please talk with us. Our Solutions Consultants listen to your needs and wants and come back with ideas on what we can do to add value.
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Paul Gallo – Group CEO & Founder, PNORS Technology Group
Paul is a successful entrepreneur with a proven track record of creating and transforming businesses into enduring, profitable enterprises.
In 1982 Paul established Disprax Pty. Ltd. to coincide with the development of the now highly successful business management solution, Timber Industry Management and Marketing System (TIMMS), a software solution specifically designed for the timber industry.
Since then, based on industry insights and market trends, Paul has strategically extended his portfolio through the acquisition of Pacific Commerce in 2002, Datatime Services in 2009, Netway Networks in 2010 and WilldooIT in 2016.
Paul has extensive experience in all facets of company management, with specific expertise in sales, management, and leadership. As Group CEO Paul oversees the strategic direction of the PNORS Technology Group.