Computers and the internet are already a part of practically every aspect of business. Information technology has played an important role as a change agent in agriculture, mining, manufacturing and the service industries. This trend will continue and a greater number of activities will be impacted by IT in the coming days. Further developments in areas that are already computerised will evolve as technology finds faster and simpler ways for work to be done.
Some of the important new areas in the field of information technology are:
Cloud Computing – This involves the use of computing services over the internet. Businesses do not need to invest in hardware or software for their requirements. Instead, they can opt for IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service).
Another advantage businesses gain with cloud computing is that the entire organisation, regardless of the location of employees, uses exactly the same servers and storage devices. This makes for greater standardisation and instant access to the same information across the company.
Digital Analytics – Practically all companies capture a large amount of data about their customers through their web properties and mobile apps. But putting this data to use and deriving information that is of help in serving customers better or getting new ones, is a complicated task.
Digital analytics is the analysis of this information to achieve greater customer satisfaction, increase client acquisition rates and improve the online experience of the people who visit the company’s website.
Internet of Things – This refers to a situation where everyday objects have network connectivity which allows them to send and receive data. The basic ingredients which are required for this to happen are already in place as broadband internet is getting cheaper and more widely available. Additionally, more devices with Wi-Fi abilities are being made and smartphone penetration is growing at a rapid pace.
As devices get the ability to “talk” to a central server and to each other, the possibilities for businesses to use this information presents a number of opportunities.
Mobile Applications – An increasing number of people access the internet and company websites through smartphones and tablets instead of desktop computers or laptops. This trend is expected to accelerate and businesses need to develop mobile-friendly websites and applications if they want to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
The question before businesses is no longer whether to invest heavily in information technology or not. It is not even whether employees across the organisation need to be extremely tech-savvy and capable of using the information technology available to them. The current challenge before business leaders of organisations of all sizes is how they will use their digital advantage to keep ahead of the competition.