Has technology reduced or increased the need for experts?

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I’ve just created my first website totally from scratch! Woo hoo.  It’s not often I blow my own trumpet but I’m pretty pleased with myself and the outcome (www.chiumento.co.uk). But while doing it, it got me thinking about how far technology has progressed in the relatively short-time since I started my marketing career just over 13 years ago. Let alone when I started my formal marketing education at the back end of last century (which makes me sound ancient). To put it into context, I can’t remember the internet being mentioned once during my degree.

If I think back to my first role I would have struggled to build a website, and that isn’t because I was less experienced than I am now. But because I lacked the skill to do so, I wasn’t a web developer and I didn’t know code. But that hasn’t changed, I am still not a web developer and still don’t know how to code.   Yet, I’ve been able to create a professional looking website, relatively quickly and easily, with minimal input from my IT colleagues.

The difference is technology and the developments in making highly technical tasks, easy for generalists like me. I built the site using page builder templates within WordPress, it was simply a case of drag, drop and edit.  Like Lego for websites.  It was very intuitive and for anyone with a general understanding of technology, pretty quick and easy to pick up. Allowing for a very untechnical individual to create a very professional looking product.

But it’s not just websites, it’s everything.  Until I started at Chiumento I’d always worked for large global organisations, with large marketing teams made up of groups of specialists.  Now, the marketing team is just me.  Whereas before I relied on specialists to complete the technical aspects I now just need an internet connection, and I can do it all…

Email campaigns have been made simple by mail chimp. Gone are the days of designers and coding html templates yourself (as I attempted to previously). It’s all been made simple and I can just click, drag and drop my design and text into place. I can even schedule them to be sent for months in advance.

I’ve managed the same with design –  up to now I’ve always been lucky enough to have an in-house design studio to create my adverts or brochures etc for me.  This was something I panicked about when starting my new role, how was I going to create anything attractive when all I had was word to work with. A quick search on the internet and I discovered canva.com. It’s meant that I have created print advertising and graphics to accompany my blog and social media activity without the need of a professional designer. Again, it’s a simple drag and drop process.

While my knowledge is limited to marketing I am sure that there are similar programmes out there for most professions.  I know during my career I’ve seen the technology used within HR change. All my information is housed in one place for me, as an employee, to see.  As a manager, I could access all the information on my staff, approve their holidays, request training, log sickness, change their job title, salary level etc.  It was all automated and all done at the click of a button. Rewind 20 years and I am sure this would have been a more labour intensive activity requiring many people.

Banking and finance, as a consumer, managing your finances has been made easier with internet banking.  I am sure this is the same for corporate customers. No need to wait for statements or to go into a branch to check balances, it’s all there waiting to be viewed and downloaded almost instantly.  While I’m no accounting expert, I am sure that technological solutions such as SAP and Sage have

helped to simplify the accounting processes within organisations. Or even something as everyday as Excel, how easy it makes analysing large volumes of data.

All these tools got me thinking, do we still need specialists?  Will technology reduce the need for niche experts?  Or will the true experts be those that create, maintain and improve these platforms that allow generalists, such as myself, to work at a level beyond their own technical skills?

 

Written by Verity Morrish, Marketing Manager, Chiumento

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