The Future Is Brighter Than Ever for Telecommunications Managers.
Every short-term indicator and long-term megatrend puts the communications manager in the greatest growth industry going. Says James Martin, in his book Telmatic Society, "Whatever the limits to growth in other fields, there are no limits near in telecommunications and electronic technology."
In their new book, Robert Bly and Gary Blake call the job of communications manager one of the ten "dream jobs" of this decade. "One reason," they say, "is that telecommunications is just now emerging as a legitimate professional area within the corporation, much the same as data processing emerged in the 1970's."
A recent study done by Coopers & Lybrand for the International Communications Association drew a picture of the typical communications manager at the start of the decade . . . and the charts on pages 127 and 128, taken from that study, show typical compensation and job training.
Current characteristics of the top telecommunications professional, according to Coopers & Lybrand, reveal him or her to be:
* Between 38 and 42 years old today, with 10 years of telecommunications experience.
* Presently operating at a Job Level 1 (vice president/director) responsibility.
* Hold a four-year college degree, most likely in Business Administration or Engineering, with telecommunications training on the job.
* Having a workload content mix of 25 percent voice and 75 percent data.
* Spending between $90 million and $100 million annually for telecom equipment and services.
* Having professional responsibility for telecommunications on a nationwide and international basis.
The ICA/Coopers & Lybrand survey represents a major step in documenting the telecommunications management profession.
While there are wide disparities in compensation at Job Level 1 according to geographic region, the difference in average compensation for all job levels across all geographic regions is small . . . only $2,000 (or six percent) between the lowest-compensated region (the Southeast) and the highest region (Northeast and Great Lakes).
Another advantage for the communications manager in 1984 is that he or she is on the right side of the law of supply and demand. Communications managers are in short supply! For example, the telecommunications director of the Chicago Board of Trade resigned several months ago to take another job at almost twice his previous salary. Since then the vice president for information services, has read 130 applications. No one has filled the bill, so he says he will probably have to hire an executive-search firm "to go out and steal one for us."
Every trend favors the capable communications manager.
And five basic management needs demand the skills of a capable communications manager. Whether a person is communications manager for a manufacturing company, an insurance company, a hospital or a university . . . any type of company or institutions . . . his or her management has these five basic needs in the decade ahead:
First, to speed management reaction time. Former Western Union Chairman Russell McFall used to call it "management shock" . . . the "inability of management to match reaction time to the accelerative rate of change." Today, with international money values changing by the hour and domestic interest rates an d commodity prices different each day, this need is greater than ever. Said McFall: "The only remedy is accelerated communications. More than ever before the communications manager will have to come to the rescue of management with faster access of accurate information which is the essential ingredient for faster decisions . . . and with faster, more accurate ways to communicate those decisions to everyone who needs them."
Communications can reduce order-to-delivery time, adjust supply to demand, spot trouble as it happens, locate people . . . and speed reaction time in scores of ways.
Second, to increase productivity. This is a major management need. Says C. Jackson Grayson, Chairman of the American Productivity Center: "We simply have to do better than we are doing if we want to keep our economy growing and provide future jobs for an expanding labor force." And already communications and automation are beginning to reverse the downward trend of productivity which plagued the nation in the mid-1970's.
Suddenly there is awareness of the potential for great improvement in productivity in the office . . . that element of the organization which produces the information resources . . . a place where people get together to communicate.
Why this sudden attention?
* Top management has become aware that, while blue-collar employment rose only 9.8 percent in the past decade, white-collar employment jumped 27 percent!
* Top management began to notice that, while from 1947 to 1966 office costs were only 20 to 30 percent of total costs, in the past decade they have risen to 40 to 50 percent of total costs.
* Looking at investment per worker, top management noted that, while each farm worker is supported by $50,000 worth of equipment and each factory worker is supported by $25,000 worth of tools and equipment, each office worker is supported by only $2500 worth of equipment.
* Top management knows that services are coming on stream which can move a 300-word letter to its destination anywhere in the world in seven seconds . . . and it wonders why it has so many people in its typing pools and mail room!
* And, finally, top management is concerned about handling the flood of information innundating it as we move into "The Information Age."
To tell the truth, a 19th century clerk would be pretty much at home in any of today's offices. The only real changes are the electric typewriter and the copying machine . . . and the latter is a prolific "paper generator," ideally suited for running off multiple copies of an employees weekly football pool!
If your organization is average, you are probably wasting 65 cents out of every dollar spent for record keeping and filing because 85 percent of the things filed are never referred to again and you are retaining 70 percent more records than you need. One company's recent study showed that 45 percent of its filing capacity stored duplicate materials! Communications and electronic capture of text has to be the way out of the unproductive office. Booz Allen & Hamilton's Harvey Poppel predicts that while today's office worker spends only five to ten percent of his or her time with telecommunications, in the future it will be 100 percent!
Modern communications is the best tool for increasing employee productivity . . . and the communications manager is the person responsible for its use in his or her company or institution.
The third basic management need is to conserve energy and increasingly scarce raw materials. Communications can conserve energy be eliminating unnecessary transportation and communications can reduce your company's use of scarce and costly paper by transmitting and storing information electronically.
Study after study has shown that, in the types of meetings normally attended, teleconferencing is as good or better than traveling as a method of organizing meetings. During teleconferences, participants said they were "only infrequently aware" of the distance involved between the two locations. The advantages of teleconferencing were seen by the participants, in order of importance, as: first, saving travel time; second, stimulating quicker decision making; third, saving travel expenses; and fourth, enabling more people to get involved!
Word processing . . . capturing the text of messages electronically . . . can save tons of paper. IBM's Pat Briody observes: "What the keypunch was to data processing, word processing is to office systems."
Communications managers can, indeed, be a real help to their managements in eliminating costly, time-consuming travel and costly, space-consuming paper!
A fourth basic management need is to cut costs. All across the land you hear the same lament . . . sales are up but profits are down (except in the oil industry, of course). And profits, the vital fuel for American growth, are down because of rising operating costs.
Communications managers can contribute to the corporate botttom line in two important ways . . . first by substituting fast electronic communications for slow written communication. While a United States mail letter now costs somewhere between $7 and $15 . . . and a secretary-typed interoffice memo costs at least $4.50 . . . a long distance call costs less than $3 (and a WATS line call only $1.10). Exxon, for example, recently found that reducing the number of letters written by just one percent and replacing them with long distance phone calls could save Exxon $150,000 a year! Getting More for Each Dollar
The second way communications managers can contribute to the corporate bottom line is by getting more for each communications dollar spent. The corporate telephone bill is most companies' largest single business expense . . . and this focuses the management spotlight on communications managers . . . simply from a cost control standpoint.
An increasing number of organizations are finding that they can save 12 to 40 percent on their long distance telephone bill by using telephone accounting and control systems like the Account-A-Call system, the Sykes "Telemiser" and a host of other computerized "tools" are now available to you to help you manage their communications system.
With computer-controlled call routing devices and computer-controlled call identification devices, telephone communication and its cost are now . . . thanks to the computer . . . completely manageable. And a wide variety of alternate service offerings from the international record carriers, the specialized common carriers and domestic satellite carriers also offer great potential for communication cost reduction.
And this brings us to the fifth basic management need which communications managers can address . . . the need to understand and take advantage of the new communications environment brought about by the breakup of the Bell System and deregulation and competition in the communications marketplace.
Earlier this year we gave this "weather forecast" for 1984 for communications managers: CLOUDY . . . PERIODS OF BRIGHT SUN . . . STRONG WINDS. "In 1984," we said, "We will see the clouds of confusion, the bright sun of high tech and the strong winds of change."
Clouds of confusion have covered the communications marketplace in 1984 . . . the result of the historic break-up of the Bell System and the "new competition" resulting from it.
in 1984 communications managers have had to give top priority to studying tariffs . . . and comparing offerings. And never has the fine line between prudent waiting to assess options and pure procrastination been more difficult to define.
Coping with divestiture has been close to a full-time task for you this year. Pricing uncertainties and cost escalation are the communications manager's constant companion. Computer programs have to be rewritten, more staff people are needed, and there are new pressures from top management.
Coping with the clouds of confusion has demanded the communications manager's best. The days of "one-stop shopping" for communications services and equipment are long gone. Immediate effects of the AT&T divestiture to date are seen in increasing competition wiht resulting customer choice. Greater options are available in the design and implementation of transmission systems tailored to a company's unique requirements for internal business communications.
Shining through the clouds have been the brilliant high-tech rays, continuing our technology-driven move toward the new day of the "Information Age."
High-tech is a mixture of computer electronics, software, robotics, communications equipment, computer-aided design and manufacturing, fiber optics, optical instruments, vapor-phase technology, medical instruments and biogenetics that stands at the frontier of innovation. In 1984 . . . and increasingly in the years to come . . . communications managers are going to be dazzled by the bright rays of high tech.
Blowing constantly in 1984 . . . perhaps as never before . . . have been the winds of change. And, as always, with change in the air, resistance to change.
Each month in Communications News we run a little feature called "Great Moments in Communication" depicting important events and discoveries like Alexander Graham Bell's call to Mr. Watson. Many of these drawings are reproduced in the brief "history of communications" starting on page 64 of this issue.
Thinking now of resistance to change, we suggest five "not-so-great moments in communications" which have, needless to say, never made our pages . . . but which dramatically underscore the danger of being hostile to new developments.
Back in 1845 in Washington, the Postmaster General of the United States was offered rights to the newly perfected telegraph by Samuel Morse for $100,000 and turned it down as an "unsound investment.
Back in 1876 in New york City Gardiner Hubbard offered to sell all of the Bell telephone patents to William Orton, president of the powerful and rich Western Union Company for $100,000. Ortoln declined, saying: "Western Union would have no use for this electrical toy."
Back in 1915 in New York David Sarnoff, working for the Marconi Company, memoed his superiors suggesting the sale of $75 "music boxes" to receive "radio broadcasts." Marconi management ignored his suggestion . . . and, at RCA in 1920, he implemented the idea and radio became popular.
Back in 1939 at the New York World's Fair, Sarnoff successfully demonstrates television only to have most radio broadcasters show no interest at all.
As recently as 1961 in Paris, Harold Rosen of Hughes Aircraft, rebuffed in his attempts to interest United States people in his idea for a "communications satellite," put one atop the Eiffel Tower, for a demonstration only to have a French official scoff, saying: "Young man, that's as high as your communications satellite will ever go!"
Resistance to change has been one of the great obstacles to overcome in 1984 . . . and will be from now until the turn of the century.
Communications managers are going to have to constantly remind themselves not to be like the 1845 postmaster general or the 1876 Western Union president!
A recent study shows that it is in the management area the productivity lags the most! At least a part of the solution to low management and office productivity lies in automation with executive work stations on every desk. Sooner or later every executive will have one. But when you, as a communications manager, attempt to put a workstation on each executive's desk, you are sure to encounter the resistance typified by this executive reaction: "That's what I have a secretary and accounting staff for: to produce my memos, draw up budget estimates, and do my paperwork for me. I don't want to go back to doing it myself."
Executives are still calling in their secretaries to dictate letters to them! Or dictating them into machines for secretaries to transcribe. Each time they do they are spending $7.60. That's what the Dartnell Institute of Business says the cost of dictating, transcribing and mailing the average business letter is today!
Five years ago it was $5.59. Ten years ago it was $3.31. In 1930 when Dartnell first tracked the cost it was 30 cents! Put in a graph the lines of "letter cost" and "long distance call cost" form a huge X.
Most companies are still wasting 65 cents of every dollar spent on record-keeping and filing.
Most companies are retaining 70 percent more records than they need to keep. At least 85 percent of the letters and records put into your company's file cabinets are never referred to again! About 45 percent of your filing system capacity is used to store duplicate copies of records of doubtful reference value. Your company calls for regular reports, 35 to 45 percent of which are either duplications, overlaps or just plain unnnecessary!
Studies indicate that as much as 50 percent of business travel is unnecessary and that the mission involved could have been handled much less expensively by teleconferencing or some other method.
Executives must be weaned away from their dictating machines, their penchant for written memos, their inclination to make extra copies and file everything, their love of travel . . . and led by hand into the electronic world, becoming of age in the "Information Age."
Overcoming resistance to change will be a big part of every communications manager's job. A Responsibility for Contribution
Inevitably electronic communications will come to bear on all of the five basic management needs we suggested. Inevitably the "office of the future" will become a reality. The only questions are: Who will be the prime mover? And when will it happen? And this leads me to this old saying: who if not you? when if not now? "Peter Drucker, in his excellent book entitled simply "Management," says: "Management is not command over people . . . it is responsibility for contribution."
The communications manager should not think of himself or herself as a "middle-management" person, a "hardware and circuit buyer," or (as Ernie Tugaudis puts it so well) as "on-demand problem solver."
The communications manager has "responsibility of contribution" . . . and should re-position himself or herself to become what some have called a "super communications manager" . . . the person in an organization responsible for all voice, message, data and image communications . . . a systems-type person who is applying communications resources to business operations in ways that will solve managemewnt problems, meet management needs and even generate additional revenue and profit thru imaginative applications of communications power . . . a top-management person reporting direct to your company's chief executive.
Rarely has any professional group had as much opportunity before them as communications managers have today! Management has acute needs. A galloping technology and competitive environment has given you gadgets and service offerings to meet those needs. As corporate voice, video and data communications are merged into a single integrated communications system, a door of high-level opportunity swings open to communications managers.
Who if not you? Some new "Systems VP?" The DP guy?
When if not now? Like starting in your mind as a matter of personal resolve right now . . . as you think about the "two dynamic decades" and the opportunity they have brought to communications managers!
Whether by evolution or revolution, the "office of the future" is sure to come. Listen to Dr. Joseph Robertson of Rockwell International: "It is forecast that during the next decade a new super industry will be born, the information services industry. This industry will be an outgrowth of today's computing, communications, and office automation activities, and will have the potential for becoming a $380 billion dollar enterprise by the early 1990s. What we are seeing is a business and social revolution, a revolution that in the next five to 10 years will impact every phase of our personal and business environment. This revolution will involve information and people.
"Our society is in dynamic change. Over half our labor force is now involved in knowledge work, as opposed to manual work and this office labor force is growing dramatically. Yet, over the last 10 years, while factory productivity increased 83 percent, office productivity increased only four percent and costs have more than doubled. In 1976 we spent over $600 million operating our offices. During 1980 we will spend over $1 trillion.
"All this growth has not come about by manual means alone, for we have been able to automate the process of creating an information explosion and a paper blizzard. Our society is as much driven by new technology as it is the creator of technology.
"Consider some of the impressive statistics resulting from our need for more information and our ability to generate it by manual and automated means. We create 30 billion original documents every year, which is growing by 10 percent. Last year alone our copies added 100 billion pages to our overloaded filing systems. Copiers today can produce five million sheets a week and a single copier could fill 50,000 file drawers in one year. We flood the postal service with over 630 billion pages of mail every year.
"We maintain four filing cabinets for employee, which will double to eight in the next five years. We will have the equivalent of 24 miles of paper for every office worker. Because of this paper explosion, we read only half of our mail, and never again use 85 percent of what we store in paper files.
"What will the office of the future be like? It will provide a wide variety of automation tools to speed up communications and make people more productive. It will involve the integration of two existing subsystems, data processing and office automation, and will create a new subsystem, information for management. All subsystems will operate over a single digital communications network." Must Be Primer Mover
Yes, the communications network . . . your communications network . . . will be the heart of the new system . . . and you will either be a primemover or a submiddle-management "communications clerk" when the dust settles!
Here are a few guidelines:
* Remember that the majority of communications are internal . . . within your own organization.
* Remember that the majority of "document time" is distribution . . . so concentrate on that area where communications can contribute so much.
* Remember that less than two percent of office "work" is secretaries typing letters . . . that the ratio of professionals to secretaries is four-to-one . . . and that, assuming a $30,000 salary for professionals and a $12,000 salary for secretaries, the professional-to-secretary ratio is really ten-to-one . . . so improving professional productivity should be the major target.
* Remember that "user friendliness" should be the goal of any new machine and any new system. Your principal task will be to persuade people to change their ways of doing things.
Above all, realize that people (including you) resist change. Listen with me to Dean Gitter: "No matter how sincerely individuals within the corporation may be intellectually convinced of the necessity for innovation, the natural emotional response to innovation and the changes it brings is negative."
No matter how acute the management need and how sensational the communications solution, it will take a super effort on your part to sell it, implement it and win enthusiastic cooperation in using it.
And changing the way your people use your communications system, changing the way various departments operate, even changing the way your company conducts its business . . . that is what your real job as a communications manager is all about . . . and this probably means, as the AT&T guy suggests, changing your whole approach to your job!
In view of the "office of the future" trends now gathering steam, you absolutely must increase your understanding of company operations and management objectives. This is the single most important step you can take toward becoming the super communications manager your company needs.
Today the communications manager has more resources . . . more tools . . . to do his or her job than did the communications manager of just a few years ago.
Communications managers have the power of the computer . . . to control your communications system and its use; new books to help you . . . like Frank Griesinger's How to Cut Costs and Improve Service and Dick Kuehn's Cost Effective Communications; more publications and newsletters . . . a proliferation of helpful information; more good conferences, exhibits and seminars; and more people to help them . . . more capable telco, carrier and supplier representatives calling on them . . . and more qualified consultants to serve them.
The marvelous opportunity that is yours as communications managers today is perfectly summed up by those oft-quoted lines from Shakespearew (Julius Caesar):
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."
But the same tide that carries some to fortune drowns others who are not able to swim very well.
As this strong surges in during the decade ahead . . . the "Intewgrated Information Environment Tide," the "Office of the Future Tide," the "Office Systems Technology Tide" . . . call it what you will . . . one of these three things is going to happen to the communications manager: he or she is going to "drown," unable or unwilling to cope with change . . . unable or unwilling to make a contribution, which is the essence of "management." And the song he or she will be singing is: "Somebody else is taking my place . . ."; or he or she is going to tread water . . . until he or she is picked up by someone. And when he or she climbs into the lifeboat, the lettering on the side will read "Vice President--Information Systems" . . . and the communications manager will work for this VP the rest of his or her working life; or the communications manager will swim boldly with the tide, the swells of achievement carrying him or her safely to a new, higher beach of top management responsibility . . . and the new title will be: "Vice President--Information Services."
Communications managers should be not only survivors but organizational heroes in the exciting times dead ahead. A Super Decade Ahead
As this issue goes to press we have just witnessed the Republican and Democratic conventions and now await the results of the Mondale-Reagan confrontation. These conventions call to mind Dwight D. Eisenhower's remarks when he accepted the Republican nomination back in 1956. He used this quote from Henrik Ibsen: "I hold that man is in the right who is most closely in league with the future."
All of us who work in the communications industry today are definitely "in league with the future."
Emerson reminds us that "this time, like all times, is a very good time if we but know what to do with it."
This time is, indeed, a great time to be a communications manager. If you can see through the clouds of confusion, benefit from the bright rays of high-tech, and counter the high winds of resistance to change, there is a supewr decade ahead for you.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Sep 1, 1984|
|Previous Article:||Looking Ahead Twenty Years at Communications and Civilization.|
|Next Article:||Accelerating Pace of the Industry and Other Trends Hold Great Promise for All.|
|ICA Comes Away the Winner in Dallas Showdown.|
|Get out of that back room today.|
|Rural Telecom Summit to bring industry together.|
|Annual meeting review.|
|RE management among top jobs in US.|
|A new golden age.|