Many people are aware of the digital economy and the need to introduce information technology into business. We are sure that this is a favourite topic for many journalists, but not all of us know what information technology is in the applied sense of the word.
We can turn to the very first definition of the IT term, which is Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Weisler suggested in the publication of Harvard University publications in 1958:
- Collection, processing and storage of information.
- The usage of mathematical decision-making methods.
- Simulation of mental processes using computer technology (artificial intelligence).
Even in the original interpretation of the concept of information technology, there are three systemically forming tasks of this new sphere of activity.
Information technology purpose in small and medium business
The introduction of IT in the territories of various corporations and organisations of small and medium-sized businesses received its first implementation in the United States at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. At that time, the Internet coverage area expanded significantly, networks became available to the public, while the cost of mobile communication decreased.
Small and medium businesses began to see IT as a promising area only when every American, even the most destitute, had a smartphone with Internet access:
- Small services and shops in short-term availability were able to attract customers from the Internet, such as local businesses.
- A neighbour was walking down the street looking for the nearest fast-food restaurant. This customer used a smartphone and he wrote a search query as «where can I eat delicious and inexpensive food». As a result, he obtained a list of suitable fast food establishments on a map of the neighbourhood.
- On the cafe website, customers can leave feedback on the quality of service, learn the schedule of the enterprise, directly from the phone, and contact the manager and order lunch.
There is an analogous situation, during which users began to use the Internet to attract customers and expand the market, and they did so in other areas too. First of all, it affected the field of services to the population.
The B2B business entered the digital economy even earlier, and it happened on the stage of desktops and laptops.
The global objective of IT in the business sphere is to attract new customers and expand sales. Then, information technology is systematically extended to the business purposes of all other stages.
Application of IT in business today
Current economic development trends include fields such as automation, robotics and digitization. The achievements of information technologies help modern specialists to automate a significant share of business processes through the connection of so-called web integration. These include cloud services and application software that implements some basic IT tasks such as:
- Marketing research, study of target audiences and analysis of competitors activities. Advertising and promotion.
- Client Relationship Management Systems (including CRM client databases).
- Automation of specialised tasks (such as online bookkeeping, aggregators of suppliers and partners, and delivery services).
- User Web Interfaces with interactive feedback elements (self-service in online stores and on marketplaces, as well as on the territory of service sites).
The path of any client is a chain of actions that stretch from the occurrence of the problem by searching for solutions on the Internet to ordering a service and paying a check. However, there are some specialised tasks that only real managers can perform. Almost the entire realm of e-commerce includes the introduction of web integration and computing systems, and in this activity, there is no place for real human’s labour.
Substitution of the human factor by automated information solutions realises most general business tasks, such as reducing the cost of customer engagement (effective promotion), reducing the cost of production, minimization of errors, improvement of service quality and growth of sales (conversion).