The way that businesses function both in and out of the office has changed drastically thanks to advances in computer, information and communication technology. Companies now use a variety of mobile devices, software and various applications that employees can use for marketing and networking, as well as research and development, for their goods and services.
The Internet, perhaps more than any other factor, has changed the way that companies do business. Most companies have websites, which allow them to reach a much larger audience and attract customers and employees from all over the world. In addition, businesses are now utilizing social-networking websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, enabling them to communicate directly with customers with news and updates. These websites are interactive, which means that companies can also receive immediate feedback on new products from customers, speeding the process of research and development. Email, video conferencing and online chat rooms have also made it easier for businesses to become more globalized, communicating quickly and easily with clients and co-workers regardless of their location.
The Internet resources listed above are not just available on an office computer. Many companies provide their employees with other mobile devices such as laptops, tablet computers, PDAs and smart phones. These devices are portable and enable workers to stay constantly connected and updated with their work. They also make it more possible for employees to have a "mobile office," working from any location and allowing them to travel or live in an area other than where the business is actually located. Most mobile devices also have an enormous number of applications available such as productivity tools, locators that utilize GPS functions and other organizational applications that help employees download, type, share and even print documents remotely from their device.
Depending on the type of business, the software used by companies will vary. However, many companies can benefit from several types of software and applications. For example, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, when installed, allows businesses to make phone calls and have conferences over the Internet rather than use the traditional analog signal. Most business software is designed to make specific tasks, such as budgeting, accounting and communication, easier, faster and more cost effective. They also help with more advanced tasks, such as translation for companies that are moving into the global marketplace, website design and monitoring and managing of web services.