Today's businesses rely more heavily on technology than ever before. From improved telecommunications to online payment options, most modern businesses could not function as effectively or efficiently without technology. Even the ability to accept credit or debit card payments at retail stores requires a complex system of bank exchanges and telecommunications in order to operate smoothly and reliably. The application of information technology in management provides opportunities to work outside the office and have increased access to important information regardless of location.
One of the main advantages of information technology in business is the ability for companies throughout many different industries to advertise their products and services via the Internet. Almost every website contains advertisements surrounding the site's primary content. Often these sites feature links from which, with a single click of a mouse or tap on a touchscreen, people can find information about the company whose ad they have clicked on.
By making information so easily accessible, advertisers may benefit from a much larger volume of traffic to their own sites and thus greatly increase the chances of someone taking advantage of their goods or services. Companies are even able to communicate with or reach out to people all over the world, thereby increasing exposure to their ads without having to pay an exorbitant amount of additional advertising costs.
Online Shopping and Money Transfers
Online shopping, bill payments and funds transfers are also key examples of information technology in business. By allowing consumers to access products and services from any computer, phone or tablet from home or on the go, companies have made it easier than ever for people to move money. Shopping online has become so prominent that most major retailers have online stores to accommodate shoppers. Consumers can buy virtually anything online from appliances to music. Funds transfers allow investors to track their investments or manage the accounts of their clients much more quickly.
Most utility companies offer online bill payment options which enable a customer to have their utility provider draw funds directly from a designated account. This virtually ensures that customers can avoid late payment fees, as the utility provider is collecting their payments automatically from clients' accounts. This eliminates the possibility of payments being mailed and subsequently arriving at the utility provided after the payments due date. As an added convenience, customers are also spared the expense of envelopes or postage.
One of the most powerful business tools that technology was provided is the ability to communicate worldwide almost without restrictions. Video chat apps such as Skype have greatly increased the efficiency of conference calls by allowing meetings to be conducted internationally from computers or mobile devices. E-mails and file sharing services allow documents to be transported instantly across an ocean. Smartphones enable business associates to communicate even while in transit. Companies with associates in several different states or countries may now send important updates or information without delay.
Flexible Work Options
The development of laptops, smartphones and tablets have allowed anyone to work from anywhere. As technology enables us to make powerful computers smaller, we become free to travel or even exercise while still monitoring our businesses. People now have much greater opportunities to work from home, allowing daycare costs to be eliminated. Travel, once a unfortunate but unavoidable interruption to the flow of work, now affords business professionals with an opportunity to catch up on aspects of their business while on an airplane or commuter train. Information can now be sent or received from practically anywhere and at remarkable speed.
Physical and Online Data Storage
Whereas once every company had to maintain enormous stockpiles of paper documents, IT's application in business has helped modern companies minimize the amount of files they must warehouse. Hard drives are capable of storing terabytes of data and occupy very little physical space. Cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive can now replace physical storage devices completely since businesses can access their files through a web browser or app on a computer or mobile device. Transferring data is also easier due to e-mail, USB thumb drives and cloud storage services.
Erik Miley is a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art. He maintains a studio at his home in Falmouth, Pa. He has had several poems, articles and art reviews appear in various local publications, including his college newspaper 'The Easel', eHow, and the Tulane Review.