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The Effects of Digitisation on the Communications Industry

22Dec Posted by Jonathan Jordan

The effects of digitisation on the communications industry - Jonathan Jordan, founder of Sermelo


There are three key drivers of change in the workforce: changing consumer demand, changing technology and changing competition.[1] One of the key reactions to an emerging digital era, with 49.5% of the world’s population using the internet in 2016, has been a digital transformation- responding to changing consumer demand and technology. Digital Transformation can be defined as ‘the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer lifestyle’[2]. The very concept of digital transformation shows the increasing awareness of companies to respond to customer’s digital preferences. This can be seen by the fact that statistics show that 27% of senior executives rate the digital transformation as a ‘matter of survival’ and 87% of companies think that it is a competitive opportunity.


Companies are consequently adopting this digital transformation with a focus on customer experience at the forefront. According to Accenture, 56% of businesses assess the impact of digital in relation to customer experience. Therefore businesses are shifting towards the customer, since customers are those now in control of their own interactions with businesses. It will be interesting to see whether all businesses are able to successfully implement these transformations in an efficient and organised manner.  With tabloids such as the Independent going through a complete digital transformation and seeing a profit six months after doing so, we wonder what the future will be for other communications companies?

In the future, a fundamental change in the workforce will come in the form of the rise of AI and the increasing use of robotics. Whilst we are still some way away from AI becoming a normal part of everyday life, the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is well underway, and it is becoming easier to predict how the adaption of AI and robotics will affect the workforce, particularly in the communications industry.

For the workforce as a whole, the suspected outcomes from the increasing use of AI and robotics are already well known and widely predicted. Manual jobs will be replaced to a significant extent by intelligent machines, as will jobs that require a low level of creativity, such as secretarial jobs and analytics. Within the communications industry itself, responses will be needed (and expected) much more quickly, given there will no longer be the need to manually analyse large amounts of data, advanced programming will do it all for us.

Automation and AI will also influence the communications industry in the future by becoming more creative. In many communications companies, automated press releases, coverage reports and media lists are already the norm. There has been an assumption that more creative tasks will always be performed by humans, but in fact, AI is already beginning to take over creative tasks.  With this in mind communications professionals are going to have to focus on areas where AI is currently much weaker, such as quick decision-making using correct intuition, as opposed to a decision made on the analysis of multiple probabilities.

Technology companies are also adapting to this growing digitisation by promoting greater efficiency in the workplace, and greater flexibility within the workforce. The drive for greater efficiency, something inextricably linked with digitisation, has led to technology companies creating new collaborative aids for offices, such as Workplace by Facebook. These new products are designed not only to promote efficiency, but also flexibility. Many technology companies are beginning to link efficiency with employee flexibility, buying into the idea that a happy workforce will be more productive in the long run. This new focus will no doubt become more common, particularly as technology progresses, making remote working and collaboration much easier.

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