Many tech agencies are luddites when it comes to their own business, claims Hotwire’s Barbara Bates

What’s the story behind this opening line? Was it written by me? Or authored by an automated content development tool? Are you 100% confident in your answer?

According to KPMG, enterprise investment in the intelligent automation market, which spans artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation, is set to rocket from $12.4 billion in 2018 to a colossal $232 billion by 2025.

In favour of AI

For tech agencies such as Hotwire who are at the forefront of communicating the opportunities and possibilities that spring from such powerful technological solutions, this is a tremendous advantage. However, there’s something that personally I find troubling.

When it comes to using technology for the good of their own business, many tech agencies are luddites. They are simply not as focused on intelligent automation and other cutting-edge solutions as one might expect them to be. In fact, many are miles behind.

We leverage tech in our business to boost productivity, build efficiency, empower our teams and help them do their jobs better. Plus, there’s an added advantage to ensuring our people are tech savvy. It improves understanding of our clients’ products and solutions and the way in which they are used. Which in turn fosters better communication programmes and results.

Negative influences

There are factors which are making tech agencies reluctant to invest in technology:

  • Business models are built on man hours: They are comfortable completing tasks using people. But it’s a completely different formula when you replace man hours with automated solutions.
  • Cost of new technologies: Like the clients they serve, tech agencies need to invest in tech not just to stay relevant but because it can also drive business performance.

Now this isn’t being done with the goal of shedding staff. Rather, our aim is to make ourselves as agile as the top tech companies by automating dreary manual processes that our people don’t enjoy in any case. For example, monitoring and coverage reporting ingest time. Going forward, AI will increasingly free our people from dull, repetitive tasks to give their best. Far better for them (and for us and our clients) to be happily engaged in producing incredible work while AI takes away some of the strain.

Bring on the future

As the CIPR concluded in its Introduction to AI in PR, “This technology will materially change how we engage with the world around us... It will potentially unleash new levels of creativity and problem solving…”

I couldn’t agree more, only that I would change ‘potentially’ to ‘certainly’. When junior people join us they’ll be able to develop in-demand strategic and creative skills from the outset instead of getting bogged down in drudgery.

Following automation, we’ll bring the human touch back into play. Our expert communicators will finesse and elevate, transforming the functional into content that is concise, compelling and persuasive.

Agencies of all kinds can learn from the tech industry. When looking for your communications partner, make sure they’re taking advantage of these advancements and work in a way that excites clients and employees alike.

Article written by Barbara Bates, Group CEO of global communications agency Hotwire