For many years now, business has been on the forefront of adopting new technologies. Business utilizes any technology that will speed production. In the 20th century, when the emergence of technologies began, it promised the beginning of a modern computer. Therefore, businesses had to change their infrastructure and adapt to the new technologies to realize their benefits. However, the size of the business does not matter since technology brings tangible and intangible benefits, thus becoming cost effective and meeting the expanding needs and demands of customers. Currently, most businesses are conducted over communication devices and personal computers. Using computers, organizations can organize dense databases, various forms of essential data, and personal schedules (Dodgson, Gann, & Salter, 2006). For instance, Bank of America adopted an automated check-processing system. In addition, American Airlines introduced a computerized flight booking system. Nonetheless, the innovations of technologies affect relationship and culture among employees, customers, suppliers, and clients, and bring corporate efficiency. The introduction of online and internet social networking sites has significantly reduced the costs of how business operate. The use of technology has its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, this paper will discuss the impacts of technology on business.
Advantages of Technology in Business
Investing in technology in businesses leads to various advantages. Since computers’ prices have decreased and their power has increased, the benefits of technology in places of work have become available to small enterprises. Regardless of the business, an organization can exploit the advances in technology to surge profits, expand into new markets, and simplify working processes. These advantages include improved communication, innovation, and creativity. Technologies in business create mobility, save time, and improve human resource management and customer experience.
Technology Improves Communication
Most companies utilize various communication technologies to aid the manner of their employees’ communication and interaction at the workplace. Additionally, organizations use communication tools to exchange data at the workplace (Luqman & Abdullah, 2011). For instance, employees of the same organization but working in different departments can use video conferencing tools such as Skype and text messaging services to exchange information and interact. Communication instruments such as Skype aid in sharing screens, which enables employees to share their projects with other departments. Furthermore, employees in the different department of the company can reach a group decision by using Skype (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Communication technologies help in serving customers on time in the department of customer service. Consequently, accounting and administrative support have experienced the employee productivity with the introduction of communication technologies (Luqman & Abdullah, 2011). Employees can report and review electronically collected information to guarantee timely and accurate delivery instead of gathering information manually. Examples of communication technologies that aid in improving business communication include the Bluetooth technology, the Botiful technology, and the Mail Pilot technology among others.
Mail Pilot is the most modern communication system utilized outside and within a company by individuals. Mail Pilot is an online email service found in Android and iPhone phones mobile Apps. Mail Pilot has reinvented the traditional process of receiving, reading, and composing emails. In business communication, this service is essential since it allows the entrepreneur to access all emails under a single account, mostly on Yahoo and Gmail. Every information is synced from the current email accounts; therefore, the user does not need to import data.
The KARMA-Bluetooth technology has managed the issue of privacy through creating a Bluetooth headset that encrypts every phone conversation. The primary challenge Bluetooth users encounter is privacy. It is easy to hack into any Bluetooth and tap another user’s information – a problem the KARMA Bluetooth technology has solved. Thus, it encodes the voice within the headset before it is transmitted over Bluetooth, making it impossible to tap the communication between two parties. It is vital to encrypt messages since most business communications are sensitive to avoid theft of organizational information.
The Botiful technology’s main aim is to change the way of interaction with distant individuals. Botiful favors mostly small businesses. Botiful is a telepresence robot that can easily use Skype, and employees can control the robot and interact with their colleagues from all over the globe (Herring, 2013). Botiful technology is unique since it is fully incorporated with Skype and it supports Skype video calls. In addition, it allows the users to socialize with co-workers through social events. Since Botiful is a robot, the user can move while talking and not stay in the same position throughout the communication (Herring, 2013). Overall, the technology helps to enhance business communication.
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Technology Encourages Innovation and Creativity
Employees can utilize various business technologies to generate innovative business ideas that can be used in the expansion and growth of the firm. Most companies create technological challenges and remunerate personnel who develop creative ideas using technology. Employees can use the internet technology to transform ways of promoting an online business. Employees can interact and socialize with numerous workers from different organization through enterprise social networks (Dodgson, Gann, & Salter, 2006). The interaction of multiple employees from various businesses results in the exchange of information, thus encouraging brainstorming on various issues related to work.
Business and computer software packages have exponentially increased workers’ productivity by permitting them to deliver data entry functions and reviewing automated reports. Organizations have computerized various traditional manufacturing process (Dodgson, Gann, & Salter, 2006). For instance, machines and robots have substituted workers in assembling and creating goods. These improvements have reduced the impact of consistent labor expenses related to production. However, it has also increased capital expenditures (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). A limited number of employees is required to monitor the machines and to ensure they are in good working conditions.
Technology Creates Mobility
Time boundaries have been eliminated when people began using computers and the internet at work. Computers and the internet allow employees to work from anywhere at any time. This mobility enables them to focus on their jobs (Zammuto, Griffith, Majchrzak, Dougherty, & Faraj, 2007). A technology tool such as virtual meeting application saves time, and the staff is not required to attend meetings physically since data and information will be shared instantaneously.
Technology has also enhanced businesses sales and services departments’ work by permitting employees to utilize personal electronic devices to generate sales displays and transmit customer-related and orders information to the office. These electronic devices reduce the lead-time that organizations spend on acquiring and delivering services and goods, thus creating an immediate competitive advantage in the business (Zammuto et al., 2007). Organizations can send sales representatives to various markets concurrently, which allows them to enter multiple markets with limited cost. Employees of a company can work from anywhere using a company internet connection; therefore, it decreases the fixed overhead expenditures from a big corporate office.
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Technology Saves Time
Technology helps automate different task at the workplace, which warrants effectiveness and raises production at work. Using computers in eliminates human errors and creates room for making corrections instantly if necessary (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Through the utilization of a database to store and capture information, the decision-making at workplaces can be expedited significantly. Business information can be accessed quickly by employees through a single database, whereby creating room for editing and saving the data for future use (Zammuto et al., 2007). The application of internal networks in organizations aids in sharing of appliances such as scanners and printers; therefore, employees do not move to various departments to use these devices.
Additionally, businesses compete for each other by remaining active and swift. Usually, small businesses respond faster to changes as compared to large companies. Years ago, electronic mail did not exist and the only way of communication with individuals’ miles away was through postal service. Therefore, the farther away a company supplier and customers were, the longer it took them to communicate (Zammuto et al., 2007). In modern society, the speed of sharing information is astonishing, which means great timesaving and the possibility of making instant decisions.
Technology Improves Human Resource Management
Technological change at workplace influences the manner, in which human resource managers operate. Technology improves the process of hiring, screening, and recruiting new workforce. In various businesses, most human resource managers use the Internet to advertise job vacancies. Potential candidates can apply for different positions online through submitting their resumes to the human resource management. The entire process makes the work of human resource management easier and it saves them much time (Zammuto et al., 2007). Technology aids in tracking productivity and performance of each employee at the workplace since when employees realize that they are being monitored, their productivity increases.
Technology has led to the automation of various functions that traditionally needed the presence of employees to handle the task. Now, bookkeeping can be organized by software applications including QuickBooks and Quicken. The sales responsibilities activities are automated by contact management by using sites like Salesforce. Thus, small entrepreneurs have the ability to focus on cutting down on labor and strategy expenses.
Technology Offers Better Customer Experience
Real consumer experience is yet another benefit of technology in business. Technology enables the management to report and retrieve customer information. The major purpose of an organization is to provide a quality experience to its clients, whereas information technology aids in offering the infrastructure to the management of customer information (Zammuto et al., 2007). The information about customers can be used for the product development, customers service activities, marketing, and a customer survey. It can aid in improving the activities required to make the consumers enjoy the provided company services.
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Disadvantages of Technology in Business
Technology is not only used for entertainment but it has also found use in business. Managers can interact instantly with their employees by sending emails and instant messages. Managers can rely on computer software and computers to make tracking of the inventory. Nevertheless, technology in business also holds disadvantages. Entrepreneurs have to weigh the overlying cons against the pros before the implementation of technology in their businesses. These disadvantages are as follows.
Among the many disadvantages, expenses are the leading hindrance in the relation of business and technology. For instance, in 2010, a single computer or computer software would cost hundreds of dollars. However, in case an organization is in a position to afford a computer, it will still require updating the technology frequently to remain on par with technological improvements and standards (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Having technology in business means that the enterprise must hire technology professionals who will aid in monitoring the available technology.
Various businesses find it expensive to hire full-time technical individuals. Therefore, they resort to hiring tech contractors who charge after every job done (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Moreover, if the available technology devices such as scanners, photocopiers, computers, and robots are poorly maintained or outdated, they reduce their performance capability. New computers and other devices or their upgrades are rather expensive.
The more incorporated a piece of technology is into the manner in which a business operates, the higher the potential ethical challenges posed by the available technology turn out to be obvious (Kohli & Grover, 2008). Ethical business practices require growth and evolution together with technology. Despite the advanced and new devices making daily business operation easier, they also generate issues of ethical nature that managers must solve.
Often, technology affects business ethics as there is software enabling peer-to-peer file sharing, which allows individuals and even organizations to download software free of charge (Kohli & Grover, 2008). Currently anti-piracy laws are strongly in place, and organizations working on cutting cost might still struggle with ethics as they download software illegally. Additionally, the majority of software has service agreement terms that must be adhered to by businesses. For instance, an online service might need a single employee in an organization to access the online service. Thus, supplementary memberships and licenses will require purchasing.
Privacy has turned out to be a major concern in modern technological society. For example, human resource managers have decided to demand the prospective employees to disclose their passwords for their social media accounts. This practice paves way for the discriminatory hiring practices and the potential privacy problems (Luqman & Abdullah, 2011). Nevertheless, laws prohibiting employers from breaching potential employee’s privacy have been passed.
The ethical standards of the employees are linked to the hindrances associated with technology in business. Mostly employees might decide to surf the internet during work hours or use their computers for personal reasons. In addition, employees might purposely overlook technology procedures since they have personal disagreements with their management (Zammuto et al., 2007). However, ethics training can minimize various shortcomings that technology presents for managers.
Additionally, technology can distract employees at the workplace in many ways. For instance, the use of social networks at the workplace can lead to considerable distraction, hindering employee’s productivity. Nearly every business has restricted access to specific websites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook since they cause an endless distraction to the employees. Furthermore, smartphones also create great distraction to the employees at the workplace.
Technology modernizes business developments, leading to reduced personal touch of business. For instance, the acquisition of an automated service instead of hiring a phone representative that will communicate with customers makes this business less personal. According to Zammuto et al. (2007), firms that generate a personal atmosphere become more favorable as compared to those that do not. However, sometimes, technology might lead to losses instead of increasing revenue in business.
Often, technology gives the impression of progressiveness, efficiency, and innovation. Executives who do not use technology risk having other professionals and the public see their organization as slow and outdated (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Therefore, entrepreneurs choose to manage the weaknesses that technology brings instead of risking to leave a damaging impression of the business.
Technology Presents Risk
Despite having numerous advantages, technology tends to be risky, especially when it comes to information security. Every employee involved in crucial company decision-making positions requires access to private business data, therefore posing as a threat since it becomes almost impossible to monitor the privacy and usage of sensitive information. Most company workers carry their personal flash drives to their workplace to transfer serious business data and use them for their personal gains (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006).
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Error and Production Cessation
This is yet another disadvantage of technology in business. Technology is standard at workplaces. Consequently, a given number of employees might overly rely on their business technology to complete their task (Kohli & Grover, 2008). Therefore, it leads to the employees not discovering numerous errors that could have been avoided if the workers had carried out the work manually. More so, technology influences the thought of whether employees can handle a task on time without relying on technology (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). For instance, a business that relies completely on online services cannot interact with customers if the Internet fails. In addition, an organization would stop production of goods in case a robot on an assembly line breaks down.
Technology Affects Workplace Relationships
Another disadvantage of technology in business is that it affects the workplace relationship. Usually, employees interact with one another by using virtual video conferencing tools, email, text messages, and cell phones. Thus, it eliminates face-to-face communication (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Interpersonal interaction is vital in developing workplace relations since employees will have a chance to know their colleagues in person. Additionally, in face-to-face communication, employees can interact on issues beyond those related to their job and they can get to know each other on a personal level. Communication tools have destroyed interpersonal communication in businesses and at the workplace (Zammuto et al., 2007). Employees become more self-centered and reserved, burying themselves into their jobs, which poses a greater threat to business.
Technology Makes Employees Lazy
As yet another disadvantage, most tasks are automated through technology, making most employees lazy during shifts since technology has exterminated skills and creativity. For instance, simpler assignments such as tracking inventory and calculating sales are no longer done manually but by using computers (Dodgson, Gann, & Salter, 2006). It results in the employees being lazy, and their brains cannot be put to task, which makes them incapable of solving high-end business issues. Software and computers have come in handy to handle such challenges.
Globalization and Interdependence
The affluence, with which organizations can interact and transfer properties on an international scale, paves the way for conducting business with a worldwide web of suppliers and consumers (Kohli & Grover, 2008). Technology such as video conferencing and the internet makes it possible and instant to access to economic information from all over the globe, making it possible to run a business and make investments in the surrounding cities as compared to carrying out the same on another state (Overby, Bharadwaj, & Sambamurthy, 2006). Nonetheless, technology eases this interdependence and integration by improving communication, logistics, and transportation.
In conclusion, it is evident that technology has a significant impact on business, both a negative and a positive one. Using information technology, companies can communicate effectively with their customers through video conferencing, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. On their websites, organizations can advertise their products and attract more consumers. However, in addition to the improved communication, technology has also encouraged creativity and innovation. Technology, as an advantage in business, has created mobility; it has allowed to save time, improve management and customer experience. Nevertheless, technology in business has also disadvantages that have hindered smooth operation of some businesses. Despite technology being the most advantageous innovation a business can implement, it is expensive. The process of implementing and maintenance is rather costly. Technology has also affected business ethics, and employees are distracted by the availability of social networks at their workplaces. Technology has various disadvantages in business such as reduced personal touch of business, which gives the company an impression, and there are risks related with securing of data. Other disadvantages are possible errors in the work process. Additionally, technology affects work relationship, and employees lose the ability to interact with others face-to-face. Employees become lazy since the majority of their job is done using technologies. In addition, interdependence and globalization as a technological disadvantage in business influence the global interaction of organizations. Therefore, technology is as equally disadvantageous in business as it is advantageous.
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