‘Don’t commute – communicate’ – will it stick?
Don't commute - communicate
For a long time it seems, I’ve been trying to encourage clients to embrace modern technologies in their marketing, communications, planning and implementation. The current pandemic has forced many to change and adopt new strategies, particularly in the field of online meetings and communications. Previously technophobic CEOs are now inviting me to their online conferences. This prompted two further questions.

  • Is this just the beginning of a realisation of the benefits of marketing and business technologies?
  • Will the enlightenment forced by Covid-19 stick? Will it signal a new direction or merely a ‘bump in the road’, with businesses returning to their old ways once the emergency is over?

‘Don’t commute – communicate.’

In 1977, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001 – A Space Odyssey – coined the phrase ‘Don’t commute – communicate.’  Over 40 years later the concept is starting to sink in.  It’s not just about business efficiency, but also use of resources, human, energy and economic.

Large organisations with a depth of technical, personnel resource, and enterprise-level IT systems are in a position to take advantage of technological benefits. In areas like data management, larger organisations have made great strides. Yet many C-level managers, still operate with low technological engagement. Tech is left to the nerds and boffins.There is often an inverted snobbery about, ‘Technology is all over my head.’ Perhaps the need to become involved in a more ‘hands-on’ manner may allow the scales to fall from their eyes to view the new dawn.

There is a paradox in that many very small businesses have always been early adopters.  However, this is perhaps only widespread in the technology-driven startups who would not even exist otherwise. Web-based businesses, e-commerce, creative, mar-tech and fin-tech companies are obvious examples. For many of these micro-businesses, restrictions imposed by the virus present few issues. For tech-powered, small businesses it’s simply the way they already work.

The businesses requiring the most adjustment are the SMEs not already driven by technology.  These include small manufacturers and those in traditional service sectors. Will their experience change their future approaches?

A sector that I’m quite heavily involved with is that of training, coaching and leadership.  These businesses have traditionally depended upon bringing together groups of people to work together.  At a stroke, this practice has been closed off. Many I’m talking with are already working on strategies which will inevitably require the application of new technologies.

All of this begs the question are we merely seeing coping strategies, or the seeds of a fundamental shift in how many businesses operate?

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