Garbage in, garbage out. That doesn’t only apply to modeling or to the utility of software functions.

Deutsche Welle had an article earlier discussing the potential of the present Wuhan Virus situation and the emphasis on working from home to drive increasing digitization of the work being done.

[M]any firms and a considerable proportion of workflows in administration and the education system are still paper-based, using postal letters and fax machines. However, the coronavirus crisis has been a wake-up call for many of them.
Smaller firms are now hoping to jump on the bandwagon, [Bitkom Head of Digital Business Processes Nils] Britze notes. “By using cloud technology, every company can quickly find a digital solution to processing documents or setting up video conferences.” Direct investment in IT infrastructure complete with servers would have been too costly for many, but cloud-based services have proven a real game changer.

However, and this is key, Britze also pointed out that

just using digital tools to improve workflows isn’t enough. Work processes have to be enhanced across the board to use the full potential of digitization. “If you just digitize an inefficient analog process, you end up with an inefficient digital process[.]”

Even work processes optimized for digitization and a work-from-home environment, though, are insufficient. That home environment must be optimized for the work, too: there is a large reduction in direct oversight, and there are myriad distractions in the home environment that need to be handled, also. Folks aren’t fundamentally lazy, but routinely working from home presents a business work culture change that wants handling that’s as carefully done as the digitization itself.

Digitization, after all, is like most things in the human endeavor: it’s is a tool, not an end, and the utility of any tool is in the efficiency of the use of it, not in its mere existence.

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