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AI is Not Your Hero. Excellent People Still Are!

Invest in them wisely and equip them with great tools.

Great people are still heroes
Great people are still the heroes

Advertising for AI has reached a saturation point. Can I get an amen? I don’t want AI to help me book my next vacation or cook my next meal. And when it comes to the success or failure of your business, investing in AI will only get you to the bottom rung where all your competition is. To make it big, you still need to invest in great people. Investing in people doesn’t just mean paying them top dollar either. It means treating them with dignity, calling out their unique values, and equipping them with excellent tools that maximize their joy and creativity!

Don’t get me wrong, I am far from a technophobe or an AI denier. On the contrary, as a Senior Technology Advisor with over 30 years in this field, I fully understand what all the excitement is about. Placing a natural language processor on top of a generative AI transformer that is plugged into an enormous neural network has produced some amazingly powerful and useful results. Almost overnight, AI has transformed the way we work and communicate forever. But I caution you that AI is not an end-all replacement for the kind of excellence that will make the difference between your company being a mediocre flash in the pan or the next great success story.

So, let’s look at how to properly balance your investment in AI with your investment in HR. I live in the IT Application Technology and Integrations space, so I will be focusing on computer programmers specifically. But I am sure these principles will apply to just about any company that is faced with the hard decisions of introducing AI tools and technologies into the workplace.

Now that we have AI, we don’t need good programmers, right?

With more money than they know what to do with, AI companies are strongly suggesting that you can simply fire all your “expensive” programmers and replace them with AI and a few low-code/no-code tools. Maybe Susanne in Accounting can manage your IT processes in her spare time. After all, she is a savvy power user and loves to keep up with all the new technologies.

As with most myths, this one comes with some amount of truth. For mediocre tasks like moving a file from an FTP site to SharePoint or emailing IT when there is a new account added to the chart of accounts, some of the modern tools can do a great job if you are willing to pay the increasing fees and have a backup plan for dealing with the failures. AI can assist greatly in helping script out simple solutions and patterns to the most common tasks. However, if your technology processes are more than boiler plate tasks or you need more robust and fault tolerant processes than what these solutions offer, you still need people who know how to code mature solutions.

If your processes are all so common that AI and low code tools can run your business, then anyone can become your competition. And if they one up you by also investing in a few key innovative programmers and designers who create a better, more efficient process, they will put you out of business!


So what is AI good for?

Great programmers use AI for grunt work so they can spend their time building the secret sauce that is your competitive edge. When they generate anything with AI, they use the code as a starting point, not a production ready process. The difference between great programmers and the rest of the pack is that they know exactly how to translate your specific business needs into code that drives that business forward. They know how to code for the various real-world stresses that will inevitably be placed on your systems, and they code for the worst cases, not just the easy ones.

On the contrary, inexperienced programmers use AI to make themselves look better by producing lightweight, cookie-cutter code that handles only the most basic situations. They don’t fully understand the code they are creating with AI and that puts you at risk of not knowing what catastrophic circumstances are lurking just below the surface of your mission critical code.


The Ultimate Weapon: Great Employees Equipped with Great Tools

Giving great employees dumbed down tools is like hiring a personal physician and restricting her to using a “let’s play doctor” playset that you bought at a local toy store. If you want to maximize the productivity of excellent people, you should invest in the right professional tools. And, yes, that means starting with the right AI solution as a basis.

Excellent employees can leverage the power of AI to perform all their mundane tasks which frees them up for doing the truly extraordinary work that moves your company forward. But don’t stop there. Do the research together with them and their teams to find the right tools, technologies, and training that will empower them to build next-level solutions. And guess what, they probably already know what they need! If you ask a woodworking enthusiast who makes the best jointer-planer, they will rattle off the answer even if they don’t own one yet. Enthusiasts know their trades inside and out including the best tools for those trades.

If your employees are not enthusiasts for their jobs, they may need to be coached into a different position and replaced by someone who is.

Programming Toolsets

When it comes to programmers, there are some excellent choices and some terrible ones. There are a few main things you should consider when buying tools for your programming team:

  • What is the main platform that your company runs on? (ex: Django, Rails, .NET Core)

  • What are the current and target skill levels of your programmers?

  • What tools will unleash the maximum creative force in your programming staff?

These questions are not trivial to answer. The myth that AI can somehow answer these questions is dangerous to the long-term health of your company. Consider bringing in a seasoned IT Advisor to do an assessment of where you are now, where you need to go to be competitive, and how to get there. As an IT Advisor with decades of experience across a broad range of companies around the world, I can attest that a good review and possible reset of your current programming landscape can produce amazing results.

Think of hiring an IT Advisor like taking an auto mechanic with you when you buy a used car. They know exactly what to look for and what questions to ask to get to the truth.

Got Microsoft? Then Get Perigee…

If you are a Microsoft shop with a talented and enthusiastic team of .NET developers, we have great news for you! We have spent the last 10 years developing and refining a toolset that is second to none for serious .NET developers. Equipped with Perigee, your programmers will create innovative, robust applications and integrations that will drive your company forward.

Perigee wasn’t created for developers to simply keep up with the latest trends. It is a force-multiplier that launches programmers into the leading position. Let the competition try to catch up while you set the pace in every measurable way!

Perigee enhances every aspect of application development. From streamlining the initial stages of the project setup with powerful AI-enhanced tools to simplifying the creation of complex, high performance, fault tolerant integrations, Perigee will make good programmers better and it will make your great programmers unstoppable!


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