What is the true purpose of AI and technology? How should it be leveraged in business? Is big data or small data better? And is this all actually improving our lives?
These are questions that our Founder and CEO, Howard Brown, recently answered on the Business is Human podcast. “The idea of using technology and AI isn’t about replacing people, it’s about augmenting and enhancing their jobs,” he explained, distilling his philosophy of what technology is truly meant to achieve.
To give you some context, Howard isn’t your average CEO. He started off as a clinical psychologist, helping people one-on-one. Yet as he worked, he realized that he wanted a way to help more people at once, so he created the largest behavioral healthcare network on the internet, which connected individuals to mental healthcare providers and specialists. So when he says he wants to help people grow, he really means it.
This approach is evident throughout ringDNA. Howard founded the company to improve people’s jobs across revenue teams with communication technology that not only helps to reach more people, but encourages a culture that celebrates mistakes and supports genuine connections.
Let’s continue on to get a closer look at Howard’s ideology. You can also listen to him discuss these ideas with Andrei Newman and Scott Britton on Episode 44 of the Business is Human podcast, if you’re an auditory learner. But if you prefer reading, then step right this way.
Technology for technology’s sake is never the answer. When asked how business leaders should leverage tech at their companies, Howard emphasized that it’s most important to look at how the technology will affect people. “If you focus on helping people, whether it’s your customers or prospects or employees… it’s really about helping one another grow.”
He emphasized that at the end of the day, technology needs to improve the experience of the end user to be worth it. So whether the end user is an employee or a customer, if the tech is making their day better, then they’re more likely to stay. This can be accomplished in a few different ways:
During the podcast, the host Scott Britton mentioned a common issue in the workplace, which is that “We have a lot of data, but people aren’t using it as consistently and effectively as they could be.”
This is because we often don’t have the data in front of us when we need it most. For instance, when a rep places a call, it would be great if they knew which pitch would be most effective. They could probably find out if they did a massive audit of calls and talked to all the other reps on their teams, but usually they’re flying blind.
Howard suggests a solve for this with small data. Big data has been the trend for many years now, but if you think about it, most of us don’t want the data itself. We want to know the story the data tells. “Small data” is the important information that’s been distilled from the big data, so that people have easy access to the information that will help them the most.
For instance, YODA AI by ringDNA uses AI technology to assess what’s working and what’s not for reps, and then gives them instant reminders on calls in the moment they need it. They could receive a reminder at the beginning of the call that if they ask for a meeting in the first five minutes, they’re more likely to get a yes, for example. Because AI can figure out the small data that matters most, reps don’t need to swim through overwhelming amounts of big data to see the benefits.
But no matter what technology a company buys, if employees don’t see the benefits of it, they won’t use it. Technology that’s truly useful enhances people’s abilities and makes them better at their jobs, so the motivation to use it is obvious. “It all goes back to the people and giving them the tools to excel at their craft,” Howard explained.
If you understand the tool’s connection to your job and how it’s useful to you, you’re more likely to maintain it. If reps don’t understand why they need to put a ton of data about calls into Salesforce and feel like it doesn’t benefit them, then they’re less likely to bother. But “We create loyal employees because they feel like we’re investing in their growth,” Howard said, showing a better way forward. If reps are using a technology that helps them to become better sales reps and advance in their careers, they’re more likely to engage with it and give it whatever time and resources they can.
Similarly, if a customer feels like a certain solution is easy to use and is helping them advance their career, they’re much more likely to renew. But if they hit stumbling blocks constantly and feel like their effort with the tool isn’t being recognized in their company, then they’re much less likely to continue using it.
It really all comes back to helping people. In Howard’s own words: “We’re helping people grow faster through technology.” We may buy technology, but at the end of the day, we don’t buy it for our computers. We buy it for ourselves — not to turn us into robots, but to help us move forward in our careers and our lives. With a little thought, technology really can help make us more human.
Mara is a Senior Brand Copywriter at ringDNA, the revenue acceleration platform that leverages AI to transform sales teams into high-performing revenue engines. She loves reading and writing, and one of her most prized possessions is a pair of socks that have "I am silently correcting your grammar" embroidered on them.