Information technology is disrupting the business world. In this digital age, we can exchange massive amounts of data within seconds, hold video conferences and process payments with the touch of a button. Due to the advancements in technology, increasingly more companies are employing remote teams and expanding their operations. IT facilitates strategic thinking and decision making, reduces operational costs and streamlines communication. Business owners who understand the advantages of information technology have a competitive edge.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
IT solutions can save you time and money, automate strenuous tasks and improve employee communication. They make it easier to process data and understand your customers' needs.
Information Technology in Business
Nowadays, companies worldwide are using information technology to build smarter cities and communities, hire top talent and analyze data. The global IT industry surpassed $4.5 trillion in 2017, yet over 40 percent of small business owners are still reluctant to invest in this sector. Only one in three small businesses spend more than $100,000 on IT services annually. More than 47 percent don't even have a website.
As a small business owner, it's important to understand and reap the benefits of information technology. According to Jess3, the team behind Microsoft’s Office 365 software, cloud solutions can reduce small business workload by a staggering 42 percent. The experts at AT&T stated that 66 percent of small businesses would not survive without wireless technology.
The role of information technology in business goes beyond improved communication. Any company big or small can use IT software and services to develop innovative products, streamline project management and maximize its marketing efforts.
Furthermore, business owners can save time and money by implementing the latest IT solutions. Holding video conferences, for example, is a lot more affordable than traveling back and forth to meet your business partners and discuss new projects.
The advantages of new technology in the workplace shouldn't be overlooked either. Companies can now automate strenuous and time-consuming tasks that previously required human workforce. The advertising department can contact the sales, planning and production departments with a click of a button. Multinational organizations can easily share information with overseas offices, supervise remote teams and hold meetings over the web.
Think of the intranet as the communication hub of your organization. This technology may help increase employee engagement and performance, automate administrative tasks and facilitate communication. Your team can use it to exchange information in real time, stay on top of the latest industry trends and store all documents in one centralized location.
An intranet can automate travel bookings, meeting room bookings, holiday requests and more. It also helps reduce the number of emails sent to and from employees, allowing them to focus on the tasks at hand. Plus, it fosters corporate culture by promoting teamwork and collaboration.
At the same time, intranet solutions provide a social networking platform where employees can exchange ideas and share opinions. They also serve as a central point for transactional processes, such as finding documents and information. Business owners can use an intranet to communicate the company's mission and values, assign tasks to each department and develop an internal brand. These things would not be possible without information technology.
The Advantages of Information Technology
Organizations across all industries can leverage information technology to make smarter decisions and grow their revenue. Today, we have access to cutting-edge software that allows us to improve customer care service, turn big data into valuable insights, assess risks and increase business security. How you're going to use this technology depends on your goals.
For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar store or a local business, you can set up a website to sell and/or promote your goods and services. Furthermore, you may use data analytics software to track each step of the customer journey and gain useful insights about the target audience. The latest IT solutions make it easier to process online payments, chat live with your prospects and address customer inquiries in real time.
One of the primary advantages of information technology in business lies in its ability to process complex data. Over 85 percent of businesses are trying to be data-driven, yet only 27 percent manage to do so. Modern IT solutions can help you collect, analyze, process and store data, leading to more efficient operations.
Banks, for instance, rely on information technology to evaluate the creditworthiness of individuals and companies. They also implement advanced IT solutions to streamline credit management, achieve regulatory compliance, detect suspicious transactions and mitigate risks.
Information technology can also boost your marketing campaigns by providing the data you need to reach your ideal customers. Even basic tools like Google Analytics can give you accurate insights about website traffic, bounce rates, sales and other key metrics. You can use this data to improve your advertising campaigns or tweak your website so it performs better in search results.
The benefits of information technology don't end here. According to a 2017 survey by Deloitte, 64 percent of millennials are now able to work remotely; they are no longer confined to their employer's premises. This gives more freedom and flexibility, leading to greater performance and increased morale. IT solutions make it easier to work on the go, keep in touch with your team and access your files anytime, anywhere.
If you're a startup founder or a solopreneur, you may not be able to afford the costs of renting office space and hiring employees. However, you can use team management and collaboration tools like ProofHub, Trello, Asana, Slack or WebEx. These apps enable users to host and join meetings over the internet, transfer files and assign tasks to other members to set project goals.
Scoro, for example, makes it easy to manage your team's work and performance. You can track the time spent on projects, invoice your clients and send custom quotes all from one dashboard. Toggl allows you to break down work hours by projects, tasks and clients so you get more done in less time. It also enables users to create teams and track their progress, manage unlimited projects and retrieve detailed reports for each team member.
How to Implement New Technologies
Now that you know the key benefits of information technology, you might wonder how to make it work for your business. With so many resources available, choosing the best solution can be difficult.
First of all, consider your short- and long-term goals. Do you want to improve communication within your company, automate time-consuming tasks or have more control over your data? Perhaps you're trying to keep the costs low and increase your return on investment?
For a boost in productivity, consider using time-tracking software and project management tools. If your goal is to make savings, switch to accounting software and use online invoicing services to lower the costs of collecting payment from clients. Set up an online ticket system or use chatbots to improve customer service.
Depending on your niche, you can use inventory management software, customer relationship management tools, cloud computing or intranet systems to streamline your day-to-day operations. It all comes down to your budget and goals. Make sure you have the resources needed to implement new technology and train your staff. Consider the costs of upgrades and system maintenance.
Take the time to research the advantages and disadvantages of information technology. Remember, no system is perfect. Even the most advanced software has its flaws and may not align with your goals. Discuss it with your employees, identify their pain points and then choose a solution that can make their work easier and more efficient.
- CompTIA: IT Industry Outlook 2018
- Insight: These Small Business Technology Statistics Are Surprising
- Jess3: Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Infographic
- Techopedia: The Pros and Cons of Intranets
- NewVantage Partners: Big Data Executive Survey 2017
- Deloitte: Freelance Flexibility with Full-Time Stability: The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.