‘The lines between the digital and physical worlds are blurring’

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Speaking at the Digital Jersey Automation and the Future of Work webinar Phil Cuming, chief executive of Comnexa, said that the world had now entered the age where information-based technologies would transform the economy.

‘Today, according to the World Economic Forum, we’re firmly in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is where artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things are transforming the customer experience,’ he said.

‘Artificial intelligence is making apps smarter and almost nearly human. The lines between the digital and physical worlds are blurring with the likes of Revolut and Monzo now starting to challenge traditional banks.

‘We are seeing law firms use bots to scan case notes in place of paralegals.’

Mr Cuming, whose firm partners with software company Salesforce and specialises in customer-relationship management, marketing automation and data analytics, said Covid-19 had hugely accelerated the concept of ‘success from anywhere’.

‘As we look at the future of work I want to look at this concept of pandemic acceleration, because the pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of the whole economy,’ he said.

‘Events like this, and much bigger expos, are being broadcast over Zoom and Teams instead of being held in conference centres. Teams are communicating over Slack and live-chat tech.

‘Times of crisis are where innovation really happens and innovation has helped us move from the web to social mobile to this idea of success from anywhere.’

He added that surveys carried out by Salesforce revealed that 61% of salespeople said that their job had changed permanently as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that this sort of trend would change how companies operated and ran their budgets.

‘The four million business-to-business sellers around the world have stopped getting on planes, being in conference rooms and taking their clients out for dinner,’ he said.

‘And they have done business over video chat. Salesforce has surveyed sales reps in recent months and over half said that they have no intention of flying to do business anymore. This is something that perhaps we would struggle with in Jersey, but it’s an indication of where the market is at. Digital selling is here to stay.

‘Businesses that have kept managing to sell successfully via digital channels will likely see their travel and entertainment budgets cut as chief financial officers no longer see them as a necessity for hitting targets.’

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