“Cortana, is my job safe?”

There is a recent series on NPR asking if your job is safe from automation. My first response was ‘Sure, my job is safe – accounting is complicated and selecting and implementing the right solution requires knowledgeable consulting.’ Our firm (SSi Consulting) helps organizations implement accounting solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Unanet and Sage Intacct. When we take our total cost to acquire new customers, then divide by the number of new customers, we get the dizzying figure of $21,000 each!!! And our results are like other firms. Salaries, marketing, demo, training, web sites, events, and so forth! Sounds like job security.

Incidentally, this is the Achilles heel of Dynamics 365 Financials. Microsoft forgot to pay partner margin to cover this cost.

Microsoft wants to automate the selection of software to help bring down this cost. I’m not convinced that’s possible today, but is it coming?

A little discussed Microsoft product called Cortana is listed as ‘your truly personal digital assistant!’ Cortana doesn’t work with Dynamics 365 (except, ‘Cortana, remind me to pay the taxes tomorrow.’). But can this technology make the selection of software easier? It could happen quickly – 5 to 10 years isn’t out of the question. Artificial intelligence tools are growing. If we can use AI to drive our cars in a few years, other tasks could also be automated.

With a little creativity, Cortana (or her assistants) could help with basic implementation consulting, leaving the complex software architecture work to a smaller consulting team. Today, customers watch videos to learn how features work – at least some of them do this. In the future, Cortana could interact with a video presentation of complex accounting software features. Wizards have been around for years, but AI interactive tools are a whole new level.

Alexa just reminded me that this blog is due today. Got to send it out!

Are you thinking about how your job could be automated?

Let me know your experience. I would love to hear from you.

Bill Aiton, President