Technology affects businesses on many levels. The more efficient an employee is, the more productive he is to the company. In addition, the more a business stays in touch with its customer base, the better the chance of building customer loyalty. Advances in technology make that possible, as well as allowing employees from around the world to work via video conferencing and telecommuting to work.
The impact of technology on a business isn’t restricted to business use. A business is also affected when consumers use technology. At one time, the only way some people had to file their tax returns was through going to either a certified public accountant or a professional tax preparer, or doing taxes themselves. The tax code is complex and some people might not have felt secure in preparing their taxes on their own. However, accounting software evolved to the point where many people simply had to answer a series of questions and the computer would do the rest, including filing the information electronically.
The technology a business uses might not have been designed for businesses. From a marketing point of view, a company makes more money by going after consumers than businesses. Consumers might buy the latest upgrade to a technological device, such as an iPhone, while businesses tend to use products for longer periods of time. On the other hand, the more consumers purchase the latest product, the better the business side of manufacturing does. A company can reach the consumer market first, then expand into the business arena. When Apple added enhanced security features to the iPhone, businesses began to look at adding iPhones to the list of acceptable phones to use in the business environment, resulting in a crossover market.
Social networking affects the business environment. Employees are connected to social networks. This can be a double-edged sword, however. An employee might post something about the business publicly which should not be shared. In addition, employees need to understand what gets posted for the public to see can have an impact on the work environment, especially if the employee is posting negative comments about the work environment or other employees. On the flip side, businesses can use social networks to monitor customer satisfaction. For example, if a customer is not happy with a product and he posts his feelings online, the company can contact the customer and try to resolve any problems. Since social networks have links to friends and family, seeing the company work hard to make things right with the customer might turn the potential loss of a customer into the chance to gain new customers.
Technology has had a large impact on the business environment in terms of telecommuting. With broadband access and computers today, as well as smartphones, employees can work out of their homes, saving the company money by not needing as physically large a space to operate. With video conferencing, business meetings no longer need to be face-to-face, saving on air fare and hotel reservations.
- MSN Money: Should You Do Your Own Taxes; Jeff Schnepper; October 2010
- Information Week: Impact of Consumer Technology Hits Business World; Andy Dornan; March 2006
- Inc: Is the iPhone Finally Ready For Business Use; John Brandon; August 2010
- Jamaica Observer: Taming the Social Media Beast in the Workplace; Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson; February 2011
- ZDNet: Eight Ways That Cloud Computing Will Change Business; Dion Hinchcliffe; June 2009
- technology image by peter Hires Images from Fotolia.com