Efficiencies through technology: creating a new breed of manager

In today’s disruptive and challenging business environment, the role of the manager has rarely been so important.

Increasingly, success and stability depend on the decision-makers for each line of business being able to analyse the data at their disposal. Crucially, managers then need to collaborate and pull together to respond as one organisation.

However, managers cannot be expected to tackle this alone. Managing the abundance of data now available at their fingertips is a new and unprecedented challenge.

Ensuring that managers use the data to their advantage is key – establishing the time for analysing, consulting and strategising.

New and emerging tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) can be the answer for organisations – acting as an enabler for managing vast amounts of big data – analysing data sets in seconds that would take humans months to understand, let alone find value in.

Today’s analyst is tomorrow’s visionary

Traditionally, managers have taken a largely reactive role to business information. They made decisions by looking in the rear-view mirror, basing their judgement on historical data and gut instinct.

However, record amounts of real-time data generated from internal sources now give them a new way to create value.

Today, data and predictive analytics allow managers to see forward instead of looking back. This enables business leaders to determine immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities before they occur.

For example, an HR manager with access to employee data and predictive analytics tools can anticipate when their top employees are likely to leave the business, based on the characteristics and behaviours of previous leavers.

Providing the opportunity for the manager to respond proactively rather than reactively, making decisions to encourage the employees to stay before they resign or being a part of their succession plans.

Creating an environment for success

Managers may find themselves in unfamiliar territory as data becomes more prominent in their roles. New responsibilities around cybersecurity and data protection are increasingly falling under their remit. Many are struggling to contend with data governance and management at a time of major change.

In practice, decision-makers are spending just as much time collecting and preparing data as they are analysing it. The prevalence of legacy systems and a lack of automation is limiting overall productivity.

To redress the balance, organisations need to equip managers with the means to streamline data governance and management. The integration of front and back offices is critical for both collaboration, agility and flexibility. Only when a united environment is created, can businesses help managers juggle their responsibilities.

When managers have access to the same pool of shared data, they’ll have fewer disagreements and better, more frequent opportunities for collaboration. For example, finance and HR managers can coordinate on the impact of a series of new hires or the need for redundancies.

Transformation is a team effort

The future of business rests with the cyborg rather than the android. It’s not about replacing human talent with machines designed to do what humans do. The goal must be to augment managers with the skills and technologies they need to do their jobs faster and more efficiently.

The collaboration of robotic efficiency with human talent and judgement will give organisations the power to meet disruption head-on. It will enable businesses to respond quickly to changes based on data informed decision making. A new breed of manager, using predictive analytics to foresee challenges and capitalise on opportunities, will be integral to business success and continuity.

However, it’s imperative that business leaders give managers and their teams access to the technology they need to work with speed and agility. Only then can they dovetail with all other facets of the business to drive growth and competitive advantage. Technology is the enabler, but talent remains a business’s most powerful asset.

Susana Duran is VP of engineering, emerging tech & mobile at Sage