By Richard Jackson, founder of Watch My Competitor

Chess was once thought to be a game of logic and creativity that only humans could master. However, in 1997 a computer managed to beat one of the world’s greatest chess players, and the standard view of human capabilities and automated capabilities was challenged. Leap forward to 2015 and computers are no longer just playing chess. The world of business, also once thought to be a realm of logic and creativity that only humans could master, is dominated by automated competition. Wall Street now largely consists of computer programs automatically buying and selling from other computer programs. What is more, monitoring your competitors is now something that can be done with automated competitor monitoring software.

Automated business intelligence and higher productivity

So, a large part of competing and interacting with your business rivals has become computerised and automatic, but is this really a problem? The creation of the world wide web allowed mail to become an automated process and this lead to a big surge in the worldwide economy. One of the most basic rules of economics is that higher productivity leads to healthier economies. Therefore, you could argue that automating the process of gathering business intelligence will lead to higher productivity. However, this will only happen if the extra human labour made available by automation is used well. The alternative is a dystopian future where unemployment rises because employers can’t make creative use of their human employees after their jobs are replaced by automated programs.

A computer program may be able to do the work that a human has done in the past. Yet the businesses who simply replace their staff with automation will fail. The reason is that their rivals will be using their human talent to increase productivity more. Rather than replacing employees with automation, businesses should be looking to train and promote employees to higher positions.

Gathering information and making choices

While computers are excellent at gathering information, humans should remain the choice makers of your business. Indeed, this would explain why fast and confident decision making is appreciated so highly by employers. A competitor monitoring program can track your rival’s product, their social media activity, their visibility on search engines, and price fluctuations in their services. Yet it remains the job of your advertising team, your product development team, and your legal team to react to this information. In this brave new world of automated competition, the businesses who thrive will be the ones who use their human resources and computer resources together.