Technology has changed the face and the pace of how we do business. Business processes have been modified and organizations are now working much more efficiently than ever. At the same time, technology has opened a new way of communication, allowing businesses to communicate and collaborate beyond borders.
It is apparent that the technology has transformed many organizations and industries in an astonishing way. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets combining with the power of internet have revolutionized the way we work. E-mail communication has replaced nearly all written memos, phone calls, and faxes. Smartphones and tablets can connect you to your business network while you are out of the office, allowing you to respond quickly official matters. Storing the important files on a cloud computing system rather than your PCs, for instance, has made information easily accessible at anytime and anywhere.
Over the last decade, technology has drastically changed the attitude and processes of the workplace. More importantly, the continued evolution of telecoms and IT technology is fuelling the on-going transformation of the business environment to take advantage of available tools and opportunities.
Perhaps one of the most obvious change technology has brought to businesses is how organizations now connect with their customers in a creative approach mostly social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. For instance, via LinkedIn, organizations can connect to different business networks and try to generate new revenue streams. Via Instagram and Twitter businesses can stay relevant in a customer’s mind and help to solve their problems in their business interactions with the organization.
The continuous evolution of technology revolutionized the way to do business, the dynamics of the workplace and what we perceive is possible. Here are six ways in which technology is transforming business environment.
In the last decade, technology has sporadically changed the attitude and processes of the workplace. More importantly, the continued evolution of IT solutions is promoting the on-going transformation in the business environment irrespective of the industry
In most developing countries like Nigeria for instance, there is still a tension between the traditional practices and the improvements that can be realised through technology. One of the reasons for this standoff might be that decision makers still have not fully appreciated the irrevocable changes that technology had brought to the workplace. Below are six innovations technology has brought into the business landscape.
Technology has obviously increased productivity in Nigeria. One of the initial driving forces supporting the adoption and use of computers were insinuations that increased productivity could be realised, thus allowing us more time to attend to do other things. Indeed, the use of computers has transformed the workplace as we know it. It has driven down the cost of data processing, and the ease with which large volumes of data can be manipulated by and transferred between various units within the organisation. Moreover, this increasing processing power, along with the broad range of off-the-shelf and customised hardware and software that are available, have resulted in changing employer and client expectation of work quality and throughput both at the employee and organisational levels.
In situations where persons might not be in office physically, e.g. due to teleworking arrangements or offsite work assignments, and even to interact with clients, technology is offering collaboration tools that facilitate continued discussion and synergy among teams. Options can allow for real-time or non-real-time interaction and can also be integrated into specialist workspaces to allow access to and use of different tools and features. The word cloud below shows only a small sample of the collaboration tools that are available.
Apart from the impact technology has been having on productivity, it is also changing the way businesses are resourced. Two key examples of this are
- Cloud computing, which allows a broad range of resources, such as software applications, hardware and infrastructure requirements, such as storage and processing power, to be accessed online, and
- Outsourcing, where, thanks to technology, companies can devolve or delegate different aspects of their business to either affiliate or third parties, but still remain connected and have critical inputs to processes that have remained in-house.
These two examples highlight the changing view on how operating resources are deployed and managed, and more importantly where such activities occur e.g. online, offsite and even offshore. Organisations are becoming increasingly hesitant to absorb large upfront (especially capital) costs for facilities and services that might also have high operating costs, but for which more cost effectively, but reliable alternatives exist. Hence business models have been changing on the basis that it is no longer necessary for the supply of many of those needs to be resident in-house; but they must be accessible as and when required, which current technology does facilitate.
- Interaction and participation
This point is readily evident through the impact of social media in business. In addition to the providing organizations with another platform for marketing and promotion, and to disseminate information, social media offers consumers and the public a large, a voice. Many organisations are beginning to capitalize on the opportunities to secure feedback on their products and services, and even to use the collaborative environment that technology now fosters for crowdsourcing initiatives, such as crowdcreation, crowdvoting and even crowdwisdom.
- Cost management
Invariably, increasing competition is fostering an ever-growing need to manage cost and streamline operations. Management is continually being asked to get the most bang for the buck, and in these trying economic times, to control spending and realise savings. Once again, technology is providing cost-effective alternatives, such expertise/labour and computing resource outsourcing, and also with respect to in-house solutions that can improve the efficiency, productivity and performance of the individual employee, and ultimately, that of the organisation.
- Efficiency and optimisation
Finally, this point is a natural, but very important consequence of many of the earlier points, since there is a greater thrust towards organisations becoming more streamlined. Traditionally, one of the greatest challenges that businesses have faced is that although they might be very clear about what their core objectives might be, considerable attention – financing, manpower, management, etc. – had be given to supporting activities and processes to the core business. However, thanks to technology, companies have more options through which to reallocate their efforts towards critical processes and functions that they must manage, thereby increasing productivity and outputs.