Month: January 2016

Impact of Information Technology on Business

Information technology is a wide field, and has enabled organizations across the world to work in an efficient manner. It plays a very important role in effective management and running of a business. The use of IT in organizations is inevitable, be it any type of company like manufacturing or medicinal sector. It has contributed largely to the process advancements in organizations. In this write-up, you will understand the impact of information technology on business.

Basic Elements

Software and Applications

Software is an important part of IT, which relates to computer applications that enable a company to generate, store, program, and retrieve data as and when needed. There are many software developed for different purposes. All operations in the business sector are carried out by software that are assigned for executing specific tasks. Without these computer applications, the trade wouldn’t have been able to carry out their functions in a proper and efficient manner. Operating systems, ERPs, special purpose applications, and web browsers are some examples of different software.

There are some software, which are exclusively built to contribute to the proper collaborative working of all sections of the businesses, which are known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). These are complex applications, which enable people to efficiently manage all functions and operations of all processes.

Hardware Devices

These are various computer equipment that house the software. Devices like microcomputers, mid-size servers, and huge mainframe systems are some examples of hardware. Businesses have to maintain a huge collection of important data. For this purpose, they employ these devices, which are responsible for storing confidential company data and retrieving it back when required. Other hardware devices include network devices that are used for providing Internet access to work and communicate expeditiously. There are even devices, which enable manufacturing tools and equipment to work accurately in the industrial sector.

Influence of IT

Small scale ventures need to buy software packages that would cater to their specific management, operational, and functional needs. For this purpose, they need to approach firms and IT manufacturers who deal in such software applications. Other IT services include Internet marketing and email marketing, web hosting and promotions, and maintaining client networks. Larger ventures, on the other hand, have their own operational and functional employees who develop software applications and work on several IT needs. They usually purchase ERP software to coordinate different processes and functions into a single application, which is actually more convenient.

The manufacturing sector may make use of servers and databases to store their vast data regarding inventory, B2B, B2C, FMCG (in the retail sector), etc. Automobile manufacturers use computers to guide manufacturing and designing tools to function in a precise manner, ruling out the possibilities of any human error. Businesses all around the globe have to take the aid of IT in some way or the other to keep themselves in sync with the market and the world. There are several departments in organizations, such as HR and recruitment, finance and payroll, administration, and security. All these departments utilize IT to carry out their respective operations in a productive manner and efficient manner.

The role of IT in entrepreneurship is certainly of a great importance, which enables businesses to effectively and successfully plan, manage, execute strategies which lead to profit. Moreover, the impact of information technology on business is on the rise, as several advancements are focused on to be implemented in various business processes.

Role of Computers in Education

Computers have changed the way we work, be it any profession. Therefore, it is only natural that the role of computers in education has been given a lot of importance in the recent years. Computers play a vital role in every field. They aid industrial processes, find applications in medicine; they are the reason why software industries developed and flourished and they play an important role in education. This is also why the education system has made computer education a part of school curriculum. Considering the use of computer technology is almost every sphere of life, it is important for everyone to have at least the basic knowledge of using computers. Let’s look at what role computer technology plays in the education sector.
Computers in Education
Computer technology has had a deep impact on the education sector. Thanks to computers, imparting education has become easier and much more interesting than before. Owing to memory capacities of computers, large chunks of data can be stored in them. They enable quick processing of data with very less or no chances of errors in processing. Networked computers aid quick communication and enable web access. Storing documents on computers in the form of soft copies instead of hard ones, helps save paper.
The advantages of computers in education primarily include:

Storage of information
Quick data processing
Audio-visual aids in teaching
Better presentation of information
Access to the Internet
Quick communication between students, teachers and parents

Computer teaching and interactive learning play a key role in education. Computer technology is integrated into the modern education system.
Computers – A Brilliant Aid in Teaching
Students find it easier to refer to the Internet than searching for information in fat books. The process of learning has gone beyond learning from prescribed textbooks. Internet is a much larger and easier-to-access storehouse of information. When it comes to storing retrieved information, it is easier done on computers than maintaining hand-written notes.
Computers Gave Impetus to Distance Education
Online education has revolutionized the education industry. Computer technology has made the dream of distance learning a reality. Education is no longer limited to classrooms. It has reached far and wide, thanks to computers. Physically distant locations have come closer due to Internet accessibility. So, even if students and teachers are not in the same premises, they can very well communicate with one another. There are many online educational courses, whereby students are not required to attend classes or be physically present for lectures. They can learn from the comfort of their homes and adjust timings as per their convenience.
Computers Improve Presentation of Information
Computers facilitate effective presentation of information. Presentation software like PowerPoint and animation software like Flash among others can be of great help to teachers while delivering lectures. Computers facilitate audio-visual representation of information, thus making the process of learning interactive and interesting. Computer-aided teaching adds a fun element to education. Teachers hardly use chalk and board today. They bring presentations on a flash drive, plug it in to a computer in the classroom, and the teaching begins. There’s color, there’s sound, there’s movement – the same old information comes forth in a different way and learning becomes fun. The otherwise not-so-interesting lessons become interesting due to audio-visual effects. Due to the visual aid, difficult subjects can be explained in better ways. Things become easier to follow, thanks to the use of computers in education.
Computers Enable Internet Access
Internet has information on literally everything and computer technology enables easy access to it. Internet can play an important role in education. As it is an enormous information base, it can be harnessed for retrieval of information on a variety of subjects. The Internet can be used to refer to information on different subjects. Both teachers and students benefit from it. Teachers can refer to it for additional information and references on the topics to be taught. Students can refer to web sources for additional information on subjects of their interest. The Internet helps teachers set test papers, frame questions for home assignments and decide project topics. And not just academics, teachers can use web sources for ideas on sports competitions, extracurricular activities, picnics, parties and more.
Computers Allow Efficient Data Storage
Computer hard drives and storage devices are an excellent way to store data. Computers enable storage of data in the electronic format, thereby saving paper. Memory capacities of computer storage devices are in gigabytes. This enables them to store huge chunks of data. Moreover, these devices are compact. They occupy very less space, yet store large amounts of data. Both teachers and students benefit from the use of computer technology. Presentations, notes and test papers can be stored and transferred easily over computer storage devices. Similarly, students can submit homework and assignments as soft copies. The process becomes paperless, thus saving paper. Plus, the electronic format makes data storage more durable. Electronically erasable memory devices can be used repeatedly. They offer robust storage of data and reliable data retrieval.
This was about the role of computers in education. But we know, it’s not just the education sector which computers have impacted. They are of great use in every field. Today, a life without computers is unimaginable. This underlines the importance of computer education. Knowledge of computers can propel one’s career in the right direction. Computers are a part of almost every industry today. They are no longer limited any specific field. They are used in networking, for information access and data storage and also in the processing and presentation of information. Computers should be introduced early in education. It won’t be an overstatement to say that computer education is as fundamental as learning English. Yes, it is.

How has Computer Technology Affected our Lives

Using a computer to write about computers is like searching for ‘Google’ on Google! Computer technology is so much a part of our lives, that we cannot imagine living without it. Computers serve as efficient data storage systems and excellent information processors. They can store, organize, and manage huge amounts of data. Moreover, they operate at incomparable speeds, thus saving human time and effort to a large extent. True, they are an integral part of our lives. It is said that inventions change the way we live. Computer technology is a classic example of this adage. It has indeed changed our way of living.

Computer technology that is in daily use today finds its roots in the oldest computing systems like Abacus and slide rules. The evolution of computers can be traced back to calculators and punched cards, which were some of the earliest computing devices. Analog computing devices evolved into digital information processors and from then on, there was no looking back! For a closer look at the major events in the computer history, you must go through the full timeline of computers.

For many years after 1960, when the third generation computers were created, desktops remained to be popular for personal and business use. Research in this field continued, giving rise to the development of laptops, palmtops, miniature tablet PCs, and PDAs. As we see today, they serve as ‘personal digital assistants’ in the literal sense of the term. Their small size endows them with portability, thus adding to user convenience. As they can be operated on batteries, they provide computer users with mobile computing capabilities. How has this affected our lives? Well, we can remain connected to the world at all times. Work is no more location-dependent.

Operating systems are a vital component of computer technology. They help in the management of a variety of computer operations and in the sharing of computer resources. They handle the scheduling and execution of computer programs, help in the management of files, and handle interrupts. They manage multiple user profiles and user accounts, thus playing a major role in maintaining computer security. Certain types of operating systems offer distributed processing capabilities and support multitasking and multi-user operations. The most important role of an operating system is to provide the users with an interactive interface. They have made the interaction with computers, a user-friendly experience and made it easy for the common man to make friends with this technology.

Computers, as we know, can perform complex mathematical operations and process large amounts of information. Thanks to their computational powers, long and complex calculations can be performed within seconds. They can be programmed to execute complex instruction sequences through the use of programming languages. The software industry is one of the most progressive industries of the world. Computer technology gave rise to this industry and changed the face of the globe.

The multimedia capabilities possessed by computers make them ideal audio-visual media. They can be made to play movies and music. They offer support to a variety of storage media like CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, and USB drives. Computer hard discs are also capable of storing and playing audio and video. And how has this affected our lives? Well, it is due to these storage and audio-visual media, that we can maintain soft-copies of data. Gone are the days, when we used to document on paper. Gone are the days when students maintained traditional notebooks. Many of them possess notebook computers today. Today’s education is about PowerPoint presentations and e-homework assignments. TVs and radios were once, the only means of entertainment, but not any more. Today’s entertainment is about the computer and Internet technology.

Perhaps one of the major advantages of computer technology is its ability to provide us with Internet access. Computers possess networking capabilities, which makes it possible to connect multiple computers and achieve exchange of information between them. Network communication is possible, thanks to the networking features offered by computers.

These were some of the important effects of computer technology on our lives. The list can go on. However, the very fact that you are on a computer reading about the effects of computer technology, which were typed into a computer, speaks a lot about how this technology has affected our lives. Don’t you think so?

Information Infrastructure Design in IT

As life progresses, new information emerges, in turn leading to further progress of mankind. Information remains to be like a limitless ocean. It is infinite and extends till eternity. Information technology (IT) involves the management of information on computer-based information systems. IT deals with the use of computers to store, process, and retrieve information. The construction and design of a safe, reliable, and an always-available information infrastructure is an important constituent of information systems.

Information Infrastructure
It is the collection of communication networks and the software associated with it. It refers to networks and software, which support interaction among people and organizations or the currently available networks and the prospective facilities that they will make available. It includes the Internet, the telecommunication networks, and the embedded systems as also computers.

Internet that is regarded as the network of networks is the information infrastructure of today. It is a collection of interconnected computer networks that transmit data in the form of packets using the Internet Protocol. Each of the networks carries information and services like mail and file transfer. World wide web, a collection of documents and other resources, is a service offered by the Internet.

Information infrastructure design is concerned with issues like privacy, security, translation, right to information, and most importantly, software and hardware compatibilities. Let us look at each of them.

Privacy: Privacy of information is related to the collection of personal information. Many a time, we are asked to furnish our personal details on the web. It might be in case of an online transaction or in the process of a registration. Such information collected over the web has to be kept private and confidential. People should feel safe while letting out such information. For this purpose, it is important to include information privacy in the design of information infrastructure.
Information Security: Securing information is about protecting it from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification. An unauthorized access to information should not result in the destruction of that information. Information security deals with confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
Confidentiality: It is preventing the information from being disclosed through unauthorized access.
Availability: Computing systems that store information and the communication channels that enable access to it, must function properly. The information in an information system should be available for the users at any time.
Integrity: In information security, integrity means that the information cannot be modified without authorization.
Rights surrounding Information: Citizens have a right to obtain information. They are allowed to access copies of certain official documents. Law allows us as citizens of a country to access information. Information rights pertain to possession of the rights to copy or modify the acquired information. People who create content are logically, its owners. So anyone other than the author cannot modify it. One is not permitted to steal content of another author. Rights to translation of content are as prescribed by law. To organize information in an information infrastructure, it is necessary to manage the rights to information.
Compatibility issues: While accessing information over the web, different users access it in different ways. The software and hardware they use is different. The type of communication network over which they access information may be different. Here arise the compatibility issues. Looking at the pace with which new types of software and hardware are being built, backward compatibility of newer versions with the older ones is a serious concern.

National Information Infrastructure refers to the integrated communication system of the US. It takes into account the high-speed public and private broadband and narrowband networks. It also includes satellite, wireless, and terrestrial communications. It is inclusive of all the information that flows in the infrastructure.

Free Information Infrastructure
It is a term used in Europe and it resembles the National Information Infrastructure. The use of the word ‘free’ is intended to focus on freedom and on the internet which is freely accessible. It comprises no software patents. It sometimes refers to open source software. It is about free access, open standards, network neutrality, and less control by state.

Global Information Infrastructure
It is an upcoming communication framework that is meant to connect the computer and telecommunication networks all over the world. Currently, the Internet is considered as the Global Information Infrastructure.

Information infrastructure in IT is actually a vast subject. It deals with the creation, design, and organization of information. It focuses on an infrastructure that caters to the security and access needs of information. In the words of William Pollard, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” This briefly describes the goal of an information infrastructure design.