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BE/U4 Topic 6 Features and Impact of Technology

Technology has important effects on business operations. No matter the size of your enterprise, technology has both tangible and intangible benefits that will help you make money and produce the results your customers demand. Technological infrastructure affects the culture, efficiency and relationships of a business. It also affects the security of confidential information and trade advantages.

Features of Technology

(i) COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS

First and foremost, technology affects a firm’s ability to communicate with customers. In today’s busy business environment, it is necessary for employees to interact with clients quickly and clearly. Websites allow customers to find answers to their questions after hours. Fast shipment options allow businesses to move products over a large geographic area. When customers use technology to interact with a business, the business benefits because better communication creates a stronger public image.

(ii) EFFICIENCY OF OPERATIONS

Technology also helps a business understand its cash flow needs and preserve precious resources such as time and physical space. Warehouse inventory technologies let business owners understand how best to manage the storage costs of holding a product. With proper technology in place, executives can save time and money by holding meetings over the Internet instead of at corporate headquarters.

(iii) BUSINESS CULTURE AND CLASS RELATIONS

Technology creates a team dynamic within a business because employees at different locations have better interactions. If factory managers can communicate with shipment coordinators at a different location, tensions and distrust are less likely to evolve. Cliques and social tensions can become a nightmare for a business; technology often helps workers put their different backgrounds aside.

(iv) SECURITY

Most businesses of the modern era are subject to security threats and vandalism. Technology can be used to protect financial data, confidential executive decisions and other proprietary information that leads to competitive advantages. Simply put, technology helps businesses keep their ideas away from their competition. By having computers with passwords, a business can ensure none of its forthcoming projects will be copied by the competition.

(v) RESEARCH CAPACITY

A business that has the technological capacity to research new opportunities will stay a step ahead of its competition. For a business to survive, it must grow and acquire new opportunities. The Internet allows a business to virtually travel into new markets without the cost of an executive jet or the risks of creating a factory abroad.

Impact of Technology on a Business Environment

(i) Impact on Human Resources

Experts have long predicted technology will someday replace many of the jobs done by humans. However, history has shown that as jobs become obsolete, new opportunities open up. Today’s students are encouraged to prepare for technology-based jobs like data analysis and computer programming, whereas four decades ago they would have been steered toward an education for an administrative or a sales position. Technology has also transformed hiring, with the internet allowing workers to complete their duties from home or another remote location. This has the added benefit of giving businesses access to a global talent pool that allows them to hire specialized, experienced workers at affordable rates.

(ii) Impact on Customer Outreach

Thanks to social media and the internet, reaching consumers is easier than ever. Using a do-it-yourself website tool and various social platforms, even the newest small business can post content that helps interested customers find them. Instead of paying third parties for advertising in print or electronic media, today’s businesses are in charge of their own customer outreach. The result is a reduced cost that levels the playing field between large corporations and startups.

(iii) Impact on Operating Costs

Another area where the technological environment has evened things out is the overhead associated with running a business. Companies sell their items online, which means they don’t need a brick-and-mortar storefront. The cost of starting a new business has dropped dramatically in recent years, since founders can now launch a venture from home as a side gig. There’s no need to travel to land new clients, because researching and reaching out to potential customers can all be done online. And, instead of hiring a bookkeeper or an assistant, entrepreneurs find that software handles all of the early-stage functions they need.

(iv) Impact on Security

One area where the impact of technology on business has brought both positives and negatives is security. Having so much information on internet-connected servers means it’s susceptible to theft. Data breaches can be devastating to a new business without the resources to handle it, with the average incident costing small businesses about $36,000. Businesses now need to put significant effort into securing their networks and all connected devices, which often means paying a monthly fee for top-tier cloud hosting and software to keep equipment safe. This has also opened up opportunities for tech specialists in the cyber security arena, where experts are in high demand.

(v) The Day to Day Impact on Business

Today’s technology has completely changed some businesses as well as creating entire business niches that never even existed before. Business owners run their companies from laptops, tablets and smartphones, never even considering opening a brick-and-mortar presence.

The daily environment in existing businesses has changed immensely, too. Office workers often spend part of their week working remotely from home or on the road. Business meetings no longer mean driving long distances as teleconferencing means getting everyone together online. Many offices are now paperless, keeping all their documents in the cloud, while others use online chat technology to keep teams in constant communication.

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