Customer-centric Design

These days every new startup app or platform has a few things in common - a pretty kickass founder, some vague goal to change the world and disrupt an industry, and then an obsession with whatever vague buzzword is in vogue at the moment. A few years ago it was Big Data and Business Intelligence, these days whether its blockchain or machine learning, quantum computing or augmented reality, it dominates the tech conversation, and especially the startup conversation.

“Artificial intelligence will transform the relationship between people and technology, charging our creativity and skills.”

This is pulled straight from Accenture’s page on Artificial Intelligence, and you’ve probably heard it a million times, from a million different founders promising that their algorithm is going to revolutionize insert-industry-here. What everyone forgets when getting excited about AI, blockchain, or any other trending buzzword is how it’ll actually help people.

Take freight management for example - with more money invested into freight-tech than fin-tech the last year, and companies like Haven Inc, EssDocs and FlexPort raising millions in VC funding, there’s been a wave of optimism surrounding technologies like blockchain or machine learning and how they can be used to transform or (gulp) *disrupt* the freight industry. The truth of the matter though, is that despite the incredible potential of this new technology, the features and development that will impact businesses most is far more mundane.

Now, I’m not saying that AI isn’t revolutionary, or extremely exciting – it’s just that most companies aren’t ready for it yet – they’re data isn’t centralized, documentation is still paper based, and communication is still fax based. So before you pick your next great enterprise IT platform – be it a TMS, WMS, ERP, or anything else – think about what your needs really are, and if your solution of choice is designing for you or not.

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