Adriana Molano, a journalist with extensive experience in digital trend analysis and social transformation from new technologies, shared with PlayVox her view about the actual state she has found in the relation between technology and people in Latin America.
1. Tell us a little about how and why you began your relation with Information Technology and Communication (the great ICT!), and how has it been what has motivated you to follow this path.
I have always felt a great interest for ICT and the potential it has to transform realities. In the university, for my final undergraduate work, I worked with a project that used ICT for cultural management in cultural houses in the country. This initiative was very well received and even won the National Research prize given by the Ministry of Culture in Colombia.
Following this approach, I continued working in projects linking social and community ICT development, especially about cultural management. In 2012, I published a book titled: 'Nuevos sentidos de la cultura: web social y gestión cultural'.
Since 2011 I have had the fortune to work with Colombia Digital, a company dedicated in promoting the use and appropriation of ICT in Latin America, bieng a communication and content consultant, where I have the opportunity to analyze digital trends and be a columnist in their website.
Also, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects in partnership with ICT Ministry and the Ministry of Work in Colombia, such as the editor of the ''Whitepaper of Telework in Colombia'' and manage the same initiative.
2. How do you actually see using ICT to develop Latin American society? Do you believe it makes good use of this or could it be improved?
Even with the best technology, there is always the room for improvement. The growth of infrastructure and connections in Latin America has grown at a good pace in recent years, however, it's clear that the digital divide continues and that it's necessary now more than ever to reduce the disconnect and digital illiteracy to be able to create fair and equal societies through ICT.
I believe that in our country, it's possible to find not only satisfactory but touching examples about how companies, institutions, civil society and even the most remote communities have managed to make use of ICT as a tool for development; undoubtedly this is on track and although there are remarkable cases with admirable accomplishments, its necessary to continue working because the devices and Internet are no longer a luxury or an accessory and become true sources of information, analysis and the creation of a Knowledge Society.
3. Something that you know a great deal about is TeleWork: Do you feel it has positively evolved in the region or are there still countries that have a long way to go? What would you suggest in these cases?
It's been evolving at a fast rate in almost all of the region. As a sample see the example of those in the 2015 eLAC Telework Group, led by CEPAL, including Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica and many others.
Regarding telework I think that the challenge has always been cultural, and although international examples and figures from each country show the increasing public and private entities that are committed to space and flexible working hours, there are still doubts about control and isolation.
One topic to pay special attention to in the majority of Latin American countries is of the issuance of rules and laws for telework, that promote this model and guarantee the rights of its workers. In Colombia we have the fortune to count on a solid regulatory framework and Ministries committed to make telework a reality in the country.
4. Getting into the Call Center territory in particular. What is your view about practices currently being conducted to improve the agent work environment?
One of the perceptions that's at an international level in Latin America is to be the ''great'' of products and services, including among them, the call center. That may be true, however, it is noteworthy that the level of service provided by our agents turns out to be so high that it's not to be just competitive but a global leader.
From this perspective, it's important that the work call centers have been developing regarding human talent management, investing in training, improving work conditions and especially including vulnerable population. Actions in this sense are what convert a call center and any other workspace into a friendly and desirable environment, thus a close link between organizations and their employees that ultimately reflects higher quality care and satisfaction in work teams.
5. There are many things that technologies can utilize to improve working conditions inside call Centers. Based on your experience, which do you think are most effective?
Telework. Without a doubt I believe that the combination between ICT and flexible working hours results in profits for companies and for the employees. In the particular case of call centers they are starting to see a trend towards the creation of 'web centers' , where there are processes with care and client management but don't necessarily require to be in one place but possible to have de-localized agents. They can work with conditions suited to their interests, they are capable to meet not only one, but several applications thanks to proper ICT management.
LinkedIn: Adriana Molano Rojas