We can all agree that technology is transforming the way we work. Many of us have embraced the idea that such disruptive communication technologies as immersive video, the latest social channels or post-intranet era mobile enterprise collaboration platforms, are here to stay. We’ve even made the pitch to our leaders that it’s time to reach employees and the media using these tools.
Yet, like the proverbial shoemaker’s children wanting for decent footwear, we often don’t apply these tools to make our own work faster, better and more effective. Few of us consider that these same technologies just might make organizations re-assess what role communication professionals like us should have—if any—in the modern enterprise.
“Get wired or get fired”
I first heard that statement during the keynote address of a training and development conference back in 1994. At that time, the training and development industry was facing the disruptive influence of video and CD-ROM-based training. Industry visionaries were dreaming of the day when video instruction would be available on the internet. Sound familiar? Classroom training professionals were facing the threat of losing their jobs from disintermediation—eliminating one or more steps in the delivery of a product from producer to consumer.
Whether you realize it or not, your job has been in danger of disappearing due to disintermediation for a while now. For a long time, communicators have been telling themselves that the “art” portion of our profession would insulate us from automation, optimization, outsourcing, and other corporate cost-cutting solutions that rely on technology.
If you still think that way, it’s time to get better acquainted with disintermediation. In non-economic terms, think of it as cutting out the middle-person; oh, and by the way, that middle-person is probably you. It might just be time for communicators to “get wired” as well.