In 1982, music legend Prince released his fifth studio album which contained the hit 1999, a song that continues to be played at New Year’s Eve parties year after year.

In the mid to late 90s, Y2K fever took hold and we learnt that planes would fall out of the sky if airlines didn’t address the Y2K programming issues. This was followed by the release of smartphones and the proliferation of all things social media. We were bombarded with buzz phrases including digitisation, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and robotics.

Drawing on inspiration from Prince, 2020 is the year to make use of the proliferation of technology, AI and big data to drive incremental continuous improvement in your business.

While these phrases come across confronting, in the same way that Prince made 1999 sound like a blast, here are some practical examples of these tech applications in everyday business:

Digitisation of training content

Film/record all of your training sessions, where possible. For those where the content has a lifespan of greater than two years, you will increase your return on investment even after allowing for the associated costs of recording.

Use of AI

There are a number of AI products which are geared towards driving efficiency for doing repetitive tasks, while improving the quality of the outcome. More importantly, they also improve the morale of those doing these tasks. In our audit business, we acquired one such tool recently and the feedback has been positive. We are in the midst of finalising our evaluation of a contract reading tool, to assist us to streamline the process of contract review. Again, this is aimed at driving a better and more streamlined outcome for our clients and staff.

Use of data analytics

Increasingly, the concept of sampling is becoming redundant where one can extract and review the entire dataset. This could include performing a check of the suppliers’ master file and doing a check for valid ABN, BSB, account number.

You either make the digitisation investment needed to remain relevant or risk becoming irrelevant in this day and age of all things digital. Or put another way, do you want to continue to party?