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It’s no secret that computers have changed the way we do almost everything, especially in the business environment. While computer technology brings many benefits, there are also risks inherent in today’s workplace. Keeping up with these risks while taking advantage of the opportunities and benefits is key to keeping your company efficient, profitable and moving forward as even more advanced technology becomes available.
Makes Processes More Efficient
Thanks to computer technology, automating processes has become far more common, allowing businesses to produce more in less time. The range of automated processes is vast, including product design and processing in manufacturing. Shipping, bookkeeping and customer service management have also been streamlined in both product and services companies. Tackling the volume of paperwork in a business has also become more efficient, with writing and editing of documents now done on computers instead of just 30 years ago when whiteout and carbon copies were commonly used.
Changes Employee Roles
Before computer technology became common, most businesses required a warm body to handle every aspect of the process. With the advent of computers, fewer people are needed to handle repetitive manufacturing tasks, marketing or day-to-day operations. While this may boost a company’s bottom line, it doesn’t do much for the people who lose their jobs due to automation. On the other hand, becoming efficient at computer technology requires a new set of skills. The new technology gives people willing to learn new skill sets a chance to find new types of jobs.
Storing and accessing important information at a moment’s notice is a big benefit of using computers to keep track of a company’s data. At the same time, the risk of security breaches also rises. After all, if someone smarter comes along and can hack a company’s data, customers, employees and business are at risk. Worse yet, some companies encourage their employees to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops for work-related tasks. This opens the doors to more potential security breaches if there’s little protocol for keeping company secrets safe on each kind of device. Implementing antivirus software and blocking employees from inside networks if they do not take precautions helps turn this risk into a benefit.
Businesses find the ability to collect and analyze information about their customers and prospects a top benefit of computer technology. But the customers may not feel so thrilled about this and see it as an invasion of their privacy. Add to this the use of social media to gain more followers in a business, and people’s lives are becoming more transparent for anyone willing to do a little research. This applies to employees in the workplace, too, since companies may require their managers and staff to be accessible 24 hours per day with a mobile phone. While this may be great for the company for keeping tabs on its business, employees lose some of their privacy.
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.