Trends in Communications Industry Show Companies Slow to Adopt New Technologies

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and theEMPLOYEEapp by APPrise Mobile has released findings from a new study on technology usage by the Communications Industry.  The report is based on a survey of more than 600 communications professionals and reveals that while companies have embraced social media as an effective way to connect with external audiences, they are still relying on older, more established technologies like e-mail to communicate internally with employees.communication

The study found that while the vast majority of individuals now possess mobile devices, companies are behind the curve in effectively deploying and using them for communications and content distribution.

The survey explored the use of old and new technologies by communications professionals with respect to four main categories of technology: e-mail, social media, and mobile technology, as well as messaging and social collaboration tools. The survey sought to determine how each is being used for both internal and external communications and their effectiveness for both.

“Communicators understand the importance of finding technology that suits our ‘always on’ culture and emphasizing the role that digital storytelling has in today’s mobile-first world,” said PRSA 2017 National Chair Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Yet, based on organizations’ seemingly limited investment in newer technologies and reticence to move away from email and intranets, old-school communication tactics remain the dominant method of distributing information.”

Jeff Corbin, CEO of APPrise Mobile, commented, “The past several years have seen a very rapid change when it comes to the use of technology to communicate with an organization’s internal and external audiences. It is safe to now say that mobile technology is here to stay. The question therefore becomes how does our industry have to change to remain relevant in light of the fact that content is now being consumed primarily through the small screens of iPhones and Androids. The research that we conducted with PRSA addresses this question and shows where we are succeeding and where we need to rethink the way our work is done.”

Highlights from the Survey

Key findings from the survey are below.

  • E-mail is not likely to go away anytime However, when other factors are considered such as e-mail overload, newer messaging technologies, and greater consumption of content found on mobile devices, communicators agree that it is not the most effective way to reach external audiences.
    • E-mail is used by 91% of respondents to communicate with external audiences; however only 27% believe it is the most effective way to communicate externally.
    • Communicators found social media 11% more effective than e-mail for communicating with external audiences.
    • E-mail is used by 95% of respondents for internal employee communications with 69% saying it is the most effective way to reach employees.
    • A large percentage of respondents (63%) believe e-mail will always be used, especially with internal audiences.
  • Social media: Given the size and reach of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, communicators have grown increasingly familiar with how to best use these tools, especially for external communications.
    • Most respondents (77%) said their company has a policy around social media.
    • 55% said their company had a formal policy.
    • 44% said their company has an informal policy that relies on employee judgment.
  • Mobile technology: Companies recognize the importance of mobile as a workplace tool and necessary counterpart to desktop computers. But most employees cannot access important company information through their Apple and Android devices.
    • Roughly half (48%) said their organization had a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.
    • 62% said they either don’t access or have a very difficult time accessing their company’s intranet through their mobile device.
  • Messaging and social collaboration technologies: A lack of uniformity exists with the use of messaging and social collaboration technologies and it is unclear which solution is the best and/or most effective. Importantly, messaging technologies are being implemented at a group level rather than institutionalized throughout an entire organization.
    • 31% said they use a variety of messaging technologies, while only 46% said their entire company uses the same platform.
    • Slack is used most frequently cited (41%) among groups of employees; Workplace by Facebook ranks second (21%); disparate others are used as

Survey Methodology

The survey data was collected via a SurveyMonkey poll largely comprised of PRSA members. In total, 628 communications professionals responded to the questionnaire conducted from February 6, 2017, through March 27, 2017. Communications professionals of varying tenure, industry, age demographic and agency/in-house designation were included.

For more information, or to view the full results, click here.

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