The recent news that Apple has become the first trillion-dollar company by market cap in history is indicative of how much technology has revolutionized the world. While IT has infiltrated virtually every part of everyday living, nowhere else has it had as much of an impact as in the business world.
Technology has improved the efficiency and impact of business processes by several orders of magnitude. Communication in particular has seen dramatic changes. Here is a look at how workplace team communication is no longer the same thanks to IT.
Electronic communication has long displaced snail mail as the primary means of business communication. It’s actually difficult to imagine how companies communicate with one another and with their remote branches just three decades ago.
Electronic communication via email, IP telephony, live chat, social media platforms, shared file servers and more has slashed the time it took to relay a document from several hours or days to just a couple of seconds. In more technical teams, tools for analyzing logs and aggregating data have also made hastened decision-making.
Technology has simplified collaboration in teams. Apps like Slack have made it possible for one to communicate with multiple teams quickly. Team members can disseminate information to the entire group or target it to an individual or a subset of the wider team.
Communication is not limited to voice and text-based messages. Files, images and videos can be shared with the team in order to clarify things that may be hard to explain in speech or writing only.
Millennials are gradually becoming the most dominant generation at the workplace. For the advancement of technology, this is a positive development. Millennials have spent the majority of their lives depending on and interacting with IT.
They are not only less likely than preceding generations to resist workplace changes brought about by technology but are also more keen to celebrate such transitions. With majority of office team members bound to be Millennials, IT is therefore proving to be a great morale booster.
One of the benefits of the Internet has been to shrink the world into a small interconnected virtual village. This has made coordination between remote branches of multinational organizations easier and even facilitated telecommuting as a viable way to work.
Through tech, managers can better lead and personally supervise remote team members. Email, messaging apps, file sharing and video conferencing have all added multiple layers of communication features that make those working from far feel more connected to the rest of the team. This enhances camaraderie.
Social media networks like Facebook initially started as a fun informal way for people to keep in touch with their friends and family. That has changed and not only is social media now a tool of business but has also influenced how proprietary business communication tools are designed.
Social media features like mentions, news feeds, informalism and cross-level participation are increasingly incorporated in business communication thus changing how decisions are made and work is executed.
One of the consequences of this is the disintegration of bureaucracy. This creates a more informal and ad hoc structure thus ensuring majority of team decisions are made lower down in the hierarchy.
‘This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.’ We’ve all heard this phrase in its various forms numerous times before and perhaps don’t pay too much attention to it anymore. Yet, this is just another example of how technology is bettering team communication.
The call libraries companies create from these recorded conversations are used in training sales teams, demonstrating best practice and cautioning on how a call could go wrong. Using actual calls is a much more effective training tool than role-playing.
It’s not possible to cover here all the ways IT has transformed communication. These examples only scratch the surface. What is certain is that the influence of technology on communication will only continue to grow.