Ethix Forum – Issue 51

Has your job, or the job of a colleague, been changed or eliminated by technology? Do you have a job that didn’t exist 10 years ago but does now because of technology? Tell us about it.

My job has changed dramatically because of the Internet. It has to do with the speed and ease of gathering information. What used to take two weeks can now be done in less than two hours. I fully recognize that without (or any search engine) a lot of the information would be unattainable, and most likely, my job would not be as productive or necessary. In addition, the advent and universal use of email has sped up the way business is done. Instead of mailing and waiting, a quick email with an attachment takes less than five minutes.
Jordan Crouch
Finance Officer

My job has changed dramatically as a result of technology. What once was a brokerage/transactional business has transitioned into a more sophistic advisory business. Technology has increased both speed and accuracy in executing trades. In additional, risk management is more robust.

Besides development and execution, customer service has also changed. Email has had both positive and negative affects on customer service. It is quicker to send information back and forth, but overuse of email has resulted in a loss of personal contact. Clients are now directed to the web information instead of calling and talking with someone.

Finally, CRM is a vital part of organizing and utilizing client and prospect data.

My current job did exist 10 years ago but in a completely different capacity. One would call clients and prospects with stock and trading ideas. Now, there are many more investment vehicles for sophisticated investors. Technology has had a big part in increasing the flow of information while decreasing transaction time. Most importantly, technology has enabled greater global communication and transparency of information.
Ilka Gregory
Investment Professional – Private Wealth

Gone are the days of Dictaphones, shorthand, and transcription for an executive assistant. My job is dramatically different than it once was. Some of it is for the good, but there are new challenges. While there are few executives who “stuff their own envelopes” after typing up a letter on their computer, the assistant still has the challenge of keeping informed when the executive is sending out hundreds of electronic “letters” a week.

The key is establishing a protocol between the administrator and assistant. While most assistants do have access to their bosses’ calendaring system, many do not choose to share access to email. It’s an ongoing challenge to be “in the loop” and make sure we have an efficient way of handling communication where I act on his behalf.
Judi Fowler
Executive Assistant

We have invested significantly in new information technology in both our distribution and advanced technology design and manufacturing businesses. These new systems have included complete ERP systems, including manufacturing with barcode labor costing, and E-commerce systems. The E-commerce system enabled significant customer growth and expansion of our distribution channels, increasing both our customer count and global reach. The number of our customers went from about 100 to more than 2,000 on six continents today, and our sales staff has grown only marginally. So the daily work of our sales force, as well as most of the people in our company, has changed dramatically over the past 10 years.
Mark Chamberlain
CEO, A Small Parts Distribution Company

Technology has come a long way in the past few years in communicating which properties are available. For years brokerage firms had full-time data bank researchers calling owners and tenants each month. This was very costly and smaller firms began outsourcing. Several firms began specializing in offering the data on line. Today companies such as OfficeSpace Online and LoupNet provide a wide variety of information. Brokers and tenants have increased productivity because information is at their fingertips.

Technology is also impacting the real estate market where I work, through the companies that are snapping up office space. In the late ’90s, we witnessed a growth surge of technology companies due to the influx of investors and strong capital markets. This boom came to a screeching halt in 2000 with the “Dot Com Bust.” Rental rates in Class A buildings dropped almost overnight from an all time high of $40 per square foot to less than $25 per square foot, creating a tenant market. Over the past six years, job growth in the Puget Sound area has increased significantly faster than other parts of the United States (10.40 percent over the past five years) because of technology companies.
John Black
Principal, Commercial Real Estate Services
Seattle Eastside