Technology has inconceivably transformed the way businesses are run. In this the 21st century, businesses use technology in essentially every aspect of a business operation – communication; administration, finance and operations; marketing & advertising; and customer relations and service.Technological advances brought about the production of devices, gadgets, and software that are supposed to make running a business more efficient, cost-effective and productive. However, hand-in-hand with the benefits are negative repercussions of technology to businesses.
Let’s look at the positive effects of technology on the different aspects of a business first.
Technology and How It Affected Business
- Administrative, financial and operational aspects
- Marketing & advertising
Nowhere is the positive effect of technology more indisputable and significant than in the area of communication.The advent of the internet; production of devices such as personal computers, hand held devices such as cell phones, smartphones, tablets and Androids;and the creation of programs, software and communication enabled applications(CEA) enable businesses to communicate with customers, suppliers and staff not only in real time but on a global scale as well. Emails, chats, text or SMS messaging, video and online conferencing have shrunk the world of commerce and business to such an extent that business transactions even across the globe are completed without a face-to-face meeting.
Because of technology, both business owners and staff do not need to be confined inside an office to be effective and productive. Mobile devices together with mobile business and productivity applications enable managers and business owners to conduct their businesses whenever or wherever they areat a click of a finger. Their employees too can have a flexi-time and flexi-workplace arrangement called telecommuting where they can perform their functions and interact with other employees and the “boss” without being physically present in a “brick and mortar” office and sometimes, not even during normal office hours.
Accounting & bookkeeping, cashmanagement and other managementaspects of running a business such as data &records management are made more convenient, efficient and cost-effective. Businesses are able to operate with a minimumof paper work and paper files. Some businesses even opt for an absolutelypaperless operation which lets them save time, space and most impotantlymoney.
Technology is the greatest equalizer in marketing and advertising. Small businesses, which in the past, could not match big businesses’ advertising and marketing budget because the cost of TV and print advertising is beyond what they could afford are now able to compete on a level playing field. Online advertising is not only cheap, but can reach a far wider audience at all hours of the dayand night that no TV or print ad could match. Internet users worldwide has reached 2.5 billion, or 35% of the total global population, at the start of 2014. This is how big the potential audience is of an online ad.
The hardships of using technology:
While it cannot be denied that technology has positively changed the way business is conducted at present, it is also acknowledged that it has some negative effects. Some inherent traits of modern technology have been the source of these negative impacts.
- A complex and fast-changing nature
- Threat to security
Technology is complex enough, add to it the fast and furious changes and developments in technological advancement, and then technology can be an expensive proposition. Cost is not limited to the purchase of the latest and most current technology, but also includes the training and re-training not only of the staff but also of the consumers.
Availability, which is a distinct advantage, can also prove as a disadvantage. Because technology is readily available, then it is also accessible to competitors. To keep ahead of competition, a business has to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology, which as pointed out can be expensive.
Technology can be a threat to a business’ financial and operational security. Embezzling of funds of tech-savvy employees is always a possibility and hackers can “steal” important company data as well as customer data that can be used nefariously by the hackers.
In the end, business owners should weigh the pros and cons of adopting technology for their businessesas it makes them do a smooth and paperless operation and find a way to cancel out its negative effects if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.