IT Matters: The “It” Thing of Today

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Photo courtesy of appliedtech.iit.edu

Have you ever imagine what our lives would have been without cellular phones, computers or the internet? Life would have been so simple yet a little less convenient than what we currently have.

Things like cellular phones, computers, the internet and many others are all products of various applied knowledge brought about by information technology (IT) as discussed in my previous blog entries. Information technology as defined by Reynolds (2010) includes all tools that capture, store, process, exchange and use information.

So, does IT really matter? My answer to this would be yes. IT is the “it” thing of today. Information technology has evolved to become the basic unit of our everyday lives – in organizational and personal growth and development.

More and more organizations nowadays continue to thrive and exist because of a solid information system – infrastructures in IT that integrate employees and company procedures as previously discussed. Companies invest a lot in their information systems as they know they will be able to harness great returns on these.

Office tools, the more popular ones under the brand of Microsoft Office, and the like help employees in improving their productivity. The use of word processors, spreadsheets and many others hastened jobs such as reports and presentations.

Companies also made use of tools to improve communication and support collaboration within the organization. Wireless networks paved way for employees to work on assigned tasks even outside their designated workplaces or even in the comforts of their own homes. They have made use of various collaboration tools to make this possible. These include web conferencing, instant messaging, and online forums amongst others. As the company’s main concern is to get tasks done by employees whenever and wherever they maybe, these tools are every company and employee’s best buddies.

IT also drastically altered the business landscape. Business models have changed because of the advent of the internet. E-business emerged; this created a wider market scope and audience reach that made organizations adapt it to cope with competition. Business and trade have become more convenient with just a click as your usual brick and mortar store’s products are now made available on the internet.

Now that a borderless marketplace has been created, organizations became more efficient in delivering products and services to their clients. IT also paved way for companies to develop their own enterprise resource planning systems. ERPs help organizations in such a way that they can easily access business data, so work is more efficient and work processes are streamlined (Reynolds, 2010). To illustrate, when a customer purchases a product on the internet, the order processing department can easily detect the number of inventory left, if the product being purchased is available or not. At the same time, the procurement department can also see the number of inventory left so when the time comes that they need to re-order, the system automatically sends a prompt thus out-of-stock situation is minimized, if not eliminated. ERP systems mostly adapted and customized to fit an organization’s operation are SAP and Oracle amongst others.

The stiffer the competition has become, organization have also become more resourceful in order to know what the market wants and how to best appeal to them. IT also covers the area of business intelligence where various applications and practices are used to extract data from various customer touchpoints. These are maintained in databases of companies and processed to produce information that can be used to predict future actions of their target market as well as support management decisions.

Likewise, organizations maintain a set of experts that are usually considered a competitive advantage. These experts have knowledge that were gained through experience in the field. This is known as tacit knowledge. In order for an organization to maintain its level of operation, this tacit knowledge should be shared. Thus, organizations nowadays resort to knowledge management. Companies make use of IT that support knowledge management: Web 2.0 Technologies which include blogs, forums, RSS feeds and wikis which were also discussed in the previous blog posts.

Also, one of the products of IT that has greatly influenced they way we live is social media. Who in this age haven’t heard of Facebook, or doesn’t have a Facebook account? Facebook is only one of the numerous social media sites that foster knowledge and information sharing and collaboration. Social media sites such as Linkedin amongst others also presented new opportunities that can better improve an individual’s career. Companies nowadays heavily rely on social media to create awareness and interest and induce desire and action towards the products and services they offer. Social media has become a platform for marketing and advertising for most companies. It is a gift to everyone who knows how to use them according to their needs.

Information technology has come a long way that we have become very dependent to what it can offer, both on personal and organizational growth and development. Responsible use of IT will surely make our lives more convenient . As managers, IT should be befriended considering that it has become a core tool in today’s business process and landscape, it can make or break an organization.

IT is not the next big thing anymore. It has become the generation’s “it” thing that life can become unimaginable without it.

Reference: Reynolds, GW. Information Technology for Managers. Course Technology, Cengage Learning. 2010

 

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