Nowadays, computers come in all shapes and sizes. From mini-computers to supercomputers and servers, there are options available to suit everyone's needs and budget. The latest models boast VR technology, 5G connectivity, 4K screens and other advanced features. However, not everyone needs these extras.

As a business owner, you are likely more interested in the 5 basic operations of a computer system. These usually include:

  • Input or inserting data and instructions.
  • Processing
  • Output or retrieving data or information.
  • Storing data or information/file management.
  • Controlling of devices and functions.

Even the most basic models of computers are compatible with software that can handle billing and accounting, word processing, record keeping and other operations that help your business run smoothly.

Data Input

Data input is the most basic function of a computer. It's what allows you to transfer information into the system via a mouse, keyboard, scanner, external hard drive, HDMI port, USB drive or software. Users can enter this data into a spreadsheet, database, online forms and more.

The latest computer systems allow you to enter and process data remotely via Bluetooth or vocal dictation. However, this function is usually performed manually via peripherals.

Data Output

The computer monitor, printer, speakers and 3D printers are known as output devices. Their role is to display the information processed by the computer system. Data output makes it possible to print 3D models, view photos on your PC, listen to audio files and print documents.

Core Function of a Computer 

Data processing is the most important function of the system unit. Without this feature, you would not be able to convert raw data into meaningful information. The Central Processing Unit (CPU), which is the "brain" of the computer, manipulates and controls data over the entire system.

The CPU can handle complex tasks, such as combining multiple pieces of data, arranging items in different sets and ensuring that supplied data is accurate and useful. Its capabilities depend on the type of computer. The more advanced your system is, the more it can do. Modern computers, for instance, have multiple CPUs and can streamline the most time-consuming business operations.

Data Storage

Whether you're creating a website or doing accounting work, you want to have the finished product stored for future use. That's where data storage comes in. Today, any computer can store information both temporarily and permanently on its hard drive, an external hard drive or a USB drive.

Even though nowadays you can save data in the cloud and access it from any device, you still need enough storage space on your computer. How much information you can store will depend on the computer type, operating system and memory.

Word Processing

Most computers nowadays have built-in word processors. These programs allow for input, editing, formatting and printing text-based documents.

A good example is Microsoft Word. With this handy app, users can quickly create presentations, write documents, add cross-references, leave comments, embed various "objects" and more. You can even use Word as a brainstorming tool, convert tables to graphs and translate words or sentences.

Depending on your needs, you can opt for computers with more advanced features and integrated apps. Even the most rudimentary system today will be capable of performing the 5 basic operations of a computer. If you can't afford or don’t need a sophisticated computer right now, you can always upgrade later.