Nearly every role in a corporation has been influenced and changed by technology over the last 20 years. Some roles have been more influenced than others. Some have greatly benefited from technological advances. Here are 5 corporate roles that have been most influenced by modern technology.
Chief Information Officer
The chief information officer is a relatively new phenomenon. As technology has advanced us to the information age, many companies have begun to recognize the importance of their IT operations. They understand that they need one person in charge of IT operations who can report directly to the CEO. The CIO is in charge of all data security and IT objectives and ensuring that those systems work and benefit the rest of the company. The days of IT operations being an afterthought have long passed.
An even more recent development has been the rise of the Chief Data Officer in corporations. While many companies group data management with the CIO, some companies are taking a different path. According to Bloomberg News, some companies are now hiring chief data officers to handle the torrent of data that their enterprises are generating. Elevating the position of the data analysis and data mining operations up the chain of command will seemingly give the resources needed to harness and exploit data in the company.
Corporate security has greatly influenced thanks to technology. Years ago, corporate security was primarily utilized to prevent physical damage to property or prevent property theft. While corporate security departments still deal with these hazards, they are also focused on data security. The theft of data can be even more costly than physical property theft. One disgruntled person with a USB drive can steal millions of dollars’ worth of data.
Not only is there the problem of data theft, but there is also the issue of protecting the systems from outside intrusion. Intrusion can be someone physically bringing a virus into the data center or more likely, hacking IT systems over the network. One intrusion can steal not only important data but can also take down entire systems. One hack could conceivably push a company towards bankruptcy. For example, Target is still reeling from the effects of a data hack that exposed the bank accounts of millions of customers.
Human resources has changed in many different ways thanks to the growth of technology. HR software has greatly simplified basic HR functions. This includes tracking hours, keeping track of employee benefits, and ensuring legal compliance. The huge increase in workplace rules and regulations would be crushing to most HR departments if they didn’t have HR software that could automate many of their tasks. HR focuses now on responding to employees questions and ensuring that systems are properly handling employee issues like pay and benefits.
Another area where human resources is benefitting from technology is in staff recruitment. 20 years ago, searching for employees meant placing an ad in the newspaper and then dealing with the surge in applications. HR would vet the many applications that came in and would then try to send a reasonable number of applicants to be interviewed. Online recruitment has changed this dramatically. Open positions are placed on the company websites along with job search sites. Potential employees fill out applications and smart systems can prescreen the applications so that only the most qualified reach the HR department.
Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing have changed quite a bit thanks to the influence of modern technology like the internet. Marketers would design marketing efforts for a 30-second radio or TV commercial or for a print ad. Success of the advertisement took time to measure and even those measurements were difficult to quantify. Sales professionals kept a Rolodex of their contacts and would rely solely on phone calls and meetings to make sales.
This has changed. Marketers can use digital media, including social media, to market directly to customers and have immediate feedback on their marketing efforts. Budgets can be more focused on results. The sales team now has a CRM to keep track of the entire sales process and where each potential customer is in the sales funnel. The sales team can use phone calls, meetings, video conferences, email, and chat to close sales.
One of the most important corporate roles is customer support. Once relegated to the backburner in many organizations and subject to outsourcing, customer support is now considered to be an integral corporate role. Outsourcing is still practiced, but corporate officers keep close watch over their outsourced customer support departments.
Whether outsourced or not, technology has greatly influenced the way that customer support is delivered. Where customer service was primarily conducted over the phone, it is now conducted through email, social media, and chat along with phone support. Technology is what created all of these new customer support channels and technology also provides ways to handle this flow.
Technology has also brought new ways to proactively deal with customer support. Instead of waiting for a customer support issue to arise, big data promises to help predict customer issues. Gone are the days where agents had to figure out what issues customers were facing. Big data promises to predict the issues so that customer support is able to quickly handle customer issues.
These five corporate roles have seen great changes due to the influence of modern technology and they will continue to see continued change in the coming years. Some of the roles may not even be recognizable, but the changes will lead to more efficiency and higher productivity.