I’m very interested in business and I think there are two elements of human and one element of other stuff in every business. Using generic terms, the two human elements are the team and the customers. The third element, the “other stuff” entails everything else that is utilized by the team to serve customers which includes things like tools, processes and all other resources.
So, in short, two elements of human and one element of other stuff.
Due to many reasons such as customer expectations, legal or business requirements or market place conditions, the third element — i.e. other stuff — keeps getting more and more involved.
If one really wants to do it right, there’s a lot to do!
So, my goal is to make that third element a bit — hopefully a lot — easier to handle. In particular, I’m very interested in making the third element easier for small business. This is where the “Sentient Artificial Manager” (SAM) comes in.
What I’m about to say is also my vision statement for Ingrid which is my implementation of SAM so I need make it large, daring and not limited by what’s possible or available today.
In layman’s terms, SAM is a non-human manager that is designed to help run a company. The ultimate manager… The dream manager… One that:
- Is aware of all aspects of a business
- Fair and impartial which is to say that “it” isn’t guided by a particular perception or value system
- Hardly ever makes mistakes and if “it” does, learns from them
- Completely consistent
- Laser-like precision
- Continuously improving
- Never sleeps or takes breaks
- And here comes the big one: never complains!
I think this is doable with today’s technology and can even be affordable for small business.
What does it take to create a SAM?
There are a minimum of three ingredients to create one:
- A reliable and scalable computing platform which is another way of saying a cloud platform
- Software e.g. apps, databases, etc.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) to go beyond a simple app that just handles repetitive tasks
Importance of Integration
As mentioned earlier, a good SAM must be aware of all aspects of a business because everything in an organization has an impact on something else. Nothing in a business exists or operates in a vacuum.
If an employee who works in production line gets sick or quits, this impacts the product/service being produced, other employees’ workload and company’s payroll to mention a few obvious ones. There are other, more-difficult-to-measure areas of impact such as employee morale, quality of output, etc.
So, as mentioned earlier, a good SAM must be aware of all aspects of a business which can only come from integration.
Integration can be done internally by handling different areas of the organization’s operations in one system or through integration with other systems. I think both are feasible approaches with pros and cons of their own.
For Ingrid, I picked the single system approach. As mentioned earlier, Ingrid is my implementation of SAM which I will talk about shortly.
Simple Example to Demonstrate the Benefits of Integration
As I mentioned earlier, I’m particularly interested in small business because majority of businesses in developed countries are small ones. It’s also an unfortunate fact that most small businesses rely on simple and many times archaic solutions for their daily operations so there’s a potential for significant impact there.
Say an employee needs to take a few days off, several months down the road. If the company is using some type of HR management software, someone would enter this information there, otherwise, it would go into an Excel sheet or a calendar as a reminder, unbeknownst to other employees or processes that will be impacted by it.
A good SAM, being aware of this information, would immediately start handling things differently so that the employee can take his/her time off without creating any impact on tasks, customers, other employees or ultimately, the product or service being offered. Adjustments to existing tasks’ delivery deadlines is one example of handling things differently. Another example would be to ask the employee to possibly change the dates of the time he/she wants to take off due to other planned events in the company. Add Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the equation, our SAM could even account for some likely scenarios that coincide with the time frame during which the employee will be absent.
Ingrid = My implementation of SAM
A while ago, I decided to take a crack at the very thing that I’m talking about here so I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.
It’s worth repeating the decision that I made about integration which is to handle it in one application — will talk about the reasons why I chose this approach later.
I came to the conclusion that there are a few things that are common to almost any business. Terminology may differ from industry to industry but the purpose and basic functionality are the same across the board. Because of this reason, I built the primary modules that will be utilized by almost any business regardless of its industry. Namely, these modules are contacts, tasks, projects and communications.
A key requirement of AI is data. As a matter of fact, the more the merrier. Building these primary modules was also required for data collection purposes. Whether data will come from a single business unit or multiple and unrelated organizations will and need to be be determined by those organizations who want to take advantage of Ingrid’s AI capabilities. In other words, there needs to be an AI switch with three settings: completely off, AI with organizational data and voluntary subscription to the inter-organizational data pool. This voluntary subscription would also mean making the organization’s data available for everyone to benefit from. It’s important to point out that the above statement does not mean exposing sensitive or insensitive organizational data to the world. It only means using the data to find patterns that are common to many organizations and using them to formulate future actions.
My intention with Ingrid is to serve a broad spectrum of businesses from different industries. Having said that for marketing, communications and product development purposes, it’s a good idea to focus on a specific industry, even business type. With that in mind, I chose the software industry as the initial focus for Ingrid. There are a few reasons for this and they are:
- First, I’m in and familiar with software industry
- I see that there are lots of tools and services to help software companies with their needs for producing software but not many options for helping them manage the business itself. Therefore, I saw an opportunity there.
- Last but not least, software industry and software companies are, generally speaking, a bit more open in terms of “trying” new solutions.
With this short intro, I invite you to try Ingrid today and help me develop a truly impactful SAM.
Give Ingrid a try at https://ingrid.app