Technology in Business
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Technology has transformed the business world of the twenty first century. Business practices are affected in every level whether marketing, merchandising or human capital; new innovative technological ideas have improved companies infrastructure and management processes. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the influx of technology into the business sector and to determine how businesses have adopted technology into the business process. This paper reviewed four areas where technology has revolutionized business. A review of scholarly articles focused on four key areas: business evolution, small business, technology shifts, and the value of information technology.
The review researched current articles of the four areas, importance was given to technology and how different business lines were affected by new and emerging technological ideas. In order to realize a definitive conclusion concerning the literature on technology and business evolution, the four areas of focus were studied and cross referenced. There are many different current articles of technology and how business was affected; this paper concluded that enough emphasis was given to the four areas of study. Additionally a suggestion for articles concerning cloud computing and online data storage was given. Keywords: Technology, business, internet, social media, retail marketing.
Technology has transformed the business world of the twenty first century. Business practices are affected in every level whether marketing, merchandising or human capital; new innovative technological ideas have improved companies infrastructure and management processes. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the influx of technology into the business sector and to determine how businesses have adopted technology into the business process. This paper reviewed literature where technology has revolutionized business. A review of scholarly articles focused on four key areas: business evolution, small business, technology shifts, and the value of information technology. Evolution of Technology in Business
It was not that long ago that the railroad and the teletype machine were the only instruments of communication. Organizations used to rely on these slow forms of communication; sometimes contracts would be signed for land, or a service and the result would mislead the buyer because the information took so long to reach the parties. The telephone opened up a new frontier in communications; for the first time people could communicate in real time. Even though the telephone changed how owners managed their company the invention of computers has revolutionized business and forever changed the landscape of economics. History of Technology
Technology has always been the key factor for change in business. Before the steam hammer men would use axes and picks to break rock, however with technology mountains could be moved and the railroad began to flourish all over America. The modern era of technology was born during the Second World War; this was the coming of age for the computer. Towards the end of World War II International Business Machines helped the war effort by manufacturing a device that could translate encrypted messages. This was the beginning of computers; an article by Ms. Jooste explained that the CEO of IBM Mr. Watson was not sure that computers would be adopted for everyday business. In fact Mr. Watson stated that there would be a world market for maybe only five computers. However it would appear that Mr. Watson way underestimated the value of computers and how they would be used for business (Jooste, 2012). The mindset of managers from the past especially like that of Mr. Wilson would be amazed with the current computing capability which is probably in the billions. Technology has evolved where almost every person is affected by some sort of modern technology. Reinvention of Business
By the 1950’s and 1960’s data processing began to transform organizations and business models. Universities began to teach keypunch and data processing along with programming. For the first time, problems that would take several minutes using a slide rule could be completed in seconds. Organizations developed business lines that would incorporate this technology. Data processing was especially important for manufacturing. Machines could now be automated with little or no interaction from employees. By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s organizations relied on the power of computing. Data processors and programmers were able to almost name their salary and benefit packages. This caused a radical shift in the labor market for technology jobs and high-tech workers. The office also changed since information could be transmitted electronically.
Business transactions could now be completed almost instantaneously via facsimile transmission. The early 80’s ushered in the invention of the personal computers (pc). Personal computers were then able to be manufactured and sold to consumers. Despite the high costs of the personal computers consumers purchased them for their business and home needs. Small business could now process payroll and budgets like their large business counterparts, instead of hiring another company to handle this process. With the creation of the Windows operating system users had the ability to use a graphic interface instead of a command line; this single event transformed the modern business into what it is today as it opened up new software possibilities.
Because all of the technological changes, organizations were transformed and they began to reinvent their business processes. A study by Mr. Graham-Hyde investigated how technology reinvented business; especially in the area of cloud computing. Cloud computing is a new era of computer technology; the ability to store and use files from an online storage facility. This new process changed how company executives managed their industry. Change is not always embraced as easily by some individuals; however with technology changing so rapidly it is important to stay current (Graham-Hyde, 2014). Computers have made it possible for organizations to create reports, run different business scenarios, and to manage their companies in a way that was not possible beforehand. Acceleration of Business
The Computer Age has revolutionized business practices and has accelerated organizations into the 21st century. New technologies are emerging almost daily, and the world is in a renaissance of new innovative thinking. Businesses are tasked with adopting the newest form of technology or face adverse market conditions. A good example of this is what happened to Blockbuster and the evolution of the video rental business. Netflix entered the market with a new form of delivery system for video rental and it revolutionized how consumers were able to rent movies. Due to this new technology, Blockbuster lagged behind eventually filing bankruptcy (Daft, 2013).
Because of instances like Blockbuster new emerging technologies are usually adopted fairly quickly especially in the case of a market leader or major competitor. An article by Mr. Andriole addresses this adoption process called Ready Technology. Ready technology allows an organization to move into a new form of technology with little effort. This can happen very rapidly, based on the information technology foundation that the organization is built upon. Whereas in the past companies would wait and see if a business practice was a valuable tool, they now can implement the technology, and test it while simultaneously maintaining their present system (Andriole, 2014). Technology Help or Hindrance
Managers have had to learn how to balance technology, and to use it wisely to accentuate their business model. Before the computer age managers used observation, communication, and sales data to manage a company’s business practice. However currently managers have all the necessary data they need at the click of a mouse or a swipe of their finger. The question of help or hindrance does present itself; based on how managers use technology in their everyday processes. Despite technological advances managers are people movers and they still have to be able to communicate effectively with their staff. In an article by Mr. McGee he addressed this paradox of help or hindrance. Computers allow managers to make split second decisions based off of real time data, however according to the article by McGee, he states that despite technology managers still need to be effective communicators; and they need to “use a rounded approach to management” (McGee, 2011). Therefore with a plethora of technology available it does not take away from the basic tenets of everyday management. Value of Technology in Business
In the current business environment technology is a valuable tool for the organization or firm. There are many ways where technology has allowed businesses to evolve. Technology has also allowed businesses to compete globally and to engage in other areas outside their market. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing allows managers to get real time updates from their suppliers and the field, and allows them to fully understand their market conditions. Businesses have been able to reduce their footprint in society by global partnerships and to compete with competitors like never before, all because technology has opened up these new frontiers. Role of Technology in Business
Organizations would be hard pressed to remove technology since it is integrated throughout the business model. There is some form of technology in every department of an organization. It might be said that we rely on technology too much. There is some credible evidence in the statement; that is why organizations must ensure they have contingencies and disaster protocols in place in case of an extended power loss or computer failure. Technology has a role in the business model of the modern organization but they must ensure it is accessible in time of difficulty. In a recent article by Al-Adwan, & Almashaqba, they argued that there was not a significant impact on the business value performance by the use of technology.
The article used a survey to question managers concerning the use of technology, and how they have been affected personally by it. Despite the hypothesis of the researchers, which stated that technology had little to no effect on the business value, their research proved otherwise (pg. 15). Even though there was a major flaw in this study, the small sample size, the evidence proved those business managers and their employees valued technology, and what it can deliver to the business environment. Value of Technology in Business
The question of value is an appropriate one while addressing the subject of technology and business. The use of the Internet to provide market research, conduct negotiations, and finalize an awarded contract is just one facet that technology has allowed businesses to be more competitive. In fact all departments of the organizations business model are affected by technology. As a recent article found ordering and customer relations are two areas that have been transformed by technology. The context of the study was to determine how employees were affected; and what were their feelings on how technology was applied in their company. The researchers conducted questionnaires based on e-commerce and the supply chain. From the responses received it was concluded that while significant strides have been obtained in e-commerce it is still much to learn and evolve in the future (Jing & Yi, 2014). There were several flaws with this study, first the data set was extremely small and secondly the research was done seven years before the paper was written. Despite the flaws the research provided that technology does provide value and benefit to the organization that uses it. Social Media and Business
Technology through the use of social media and internet advertising is important for the well-being of the company. For example in a scenario where a consumer has a bad experience with a particular company, with the use of technology the information can be shared via a number of social media sites in a short period of time. Therefore technology is important for companies so they can address this negative publicity and respond in a format that consumers immediately have access to. Since technology is so important to consumers and organizations technology can either help to establish a business or to remove it from the market. Social media has transformed the business process, organizations have the ability through social media to respond to customers and face issues head on. In a recent study the researchers addressed the question of positive and negative feedback through the use of social media. It was their contention that with the use of social media an organization could gain a competitive advantage.
This study took a qualitative approach and inspected the various areas that social media could impact a company. Based off of the researcher’s results it was determined that companies need to implement strategies for the various forms of social media since business practices have changed so drastically because of technology (Correia &Medina, 2014). Despite the outcome of the study the lack of quantitative data to substantiate the claims leaves this research lacking in merit. However since organizations invest so much capital in online social media, corporations have dedicated resources to facilitate the online community and handle all social media events. Impact of Technology on Business
Managers face difficult decisions concerning budgets and which technologies to adopt. Research is very important as it allows organizations to inspect the various types of research that is available. Similar to how a consumer would shop for a new car, managers have to fully understand all the ramifications while shopping for technology. Not only is technology expensive the company has to integrate the new product into their existing system; this could cause conflicts with the existing structure or cost additional dollars for training. Technology has helped organizations create a more streamlined business plan. One of the areas businesses have been able to effectively use technology is in the form of training and conferencing. Managers can save considerable resources with the use of online training, specifically webinars or video conferences. Technology has also been effective in the area of logistics and delivery. Organizations have the ability to manage orders, address shortages and file claims without having to physically be located at the place of destination.
One key element of the logistics process is the tracking of shipments. A recent study by Cavalcante in 2013 attempted to identify how technology has impacted business specifically in the area of logistics. The research focused on a recent positioning technology which would enhance GPS signals and accuracy. The study conducted a series of interviews on potential users and found that the majority of managers would adopt this technology as it would have an effect on their business model (Cavalcante, 2013). Even though this study provided a definitive answer in how companies would respond to this technology. It is important to note that the positioning technology was not currently available; therefore no actual users had tested the system. Small Business and Technology
With the use of technology small business is afforded many of the same abilities that larger corporations have. A small business owner can compete in the global market by creating and maintaining a web site. Without the use of computers it would be difficult for a small business to compete in the international market; therefore technology has opened up new doors of opportunity for entrepreneurs. Small business can develop a business model that can span the global divide and reach consumers on the other side of the world. Technology and Small Business
Small business has much to gain from the use of technology; however it is important to note that some business owners are determined to manage their businesses without it. There are still large areas of society that are not generally affected by technological changes. Some of these areas are backwoods areas however some communities still believe in the old way of life for example the Amish. Some areas of business and people are fine without all of the technology that is available. This question of why people choose not to use technology was the focus of a study completed by Mr. Harwood. The study was the result of a decision by Scottish officials to determine why so few businesses in the area of tourism used online technology. The theory according to the government officials were that businesses were losing out on revenue because they did not use the Internet to advertise their businesses.
The research was conducted in the form of interviews and was conducted over a six year period concluding in 2009. The data was gathered from different areas of Scotland which included both affluent sections and locales that were more remote. Since hoteliers typically were used to telephone or in person booking it was difficult for them to see the need in adopting an online tool or website. The study revealed that the majority of hotels refused to get online or provide online booking facilities because they did not see the value in it (Harwood, 2011). While the study explained the reason for the reluctance to embrace technology the article was old and needs to do an updated study. Rural Business and Technology
There are many areas of the country that do not have internet connectivity. These areas are normally rural in nature and technology is not a part of business, which has allowed for slow growth. A recent study was conducted to investigate the area between Georgia and Virginia commonly called the Appalachia’s. The area of land is considered one of the most backwoods areas of the country. However the researchers found that both businesses and the residents were connected with technology. The researchers determined that businesses in Appalachia were effectively using technology to compete locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally (Rahman, Tootoonchi, & Monahan, 2011). Whether it is cellular technology or land line forms of internet businesses in rural areas have the ability to compete in almost every market. Not only can storeowners sell their wares online they can manage business processes and provide for their employees. Utilization of Technology in Small Business
Small business has the same opportunities as large organizations in their ability to utilize technology. However despite the availability of technology many times the start-up costs are too expensive for small and middle sized businesses. A study examined small business and how they adopt technology and related the modernization of the company to profitability; also how technology demands need to align with the environment. The researchers reviewed literature concentrating on different aspects of technology, for example green initiatives and energy saving technologies. The authors stated that many small businesses would like new technology however they want to do it with the least start-up costs and to reduce the impact on the environment (Bressler, Bressler, & Bressler, 2011). The study was based on a survey of 2000 small business companies, and effectively revealed that small business wants to incorporate technology; the younger entrepreneurs want to do it with the last impact to the environment. Business Support for Small Business
Large organizations are departmentalized and have the ability to manage almost every problem or challenge internally. Small businesses do not have the luxury of a large research and development division, or an on staff general counsel. That is why small business is encouraged to partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA) or similar organization. There are two main types of organizations that assist small business, Economic Development Corporations (EDC) , and Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). EDC’s are an organization such as a Chamber of Commerce; these organizations are non-profit entities that assist communities in economic development. The SBDC is a branch of the SBA and the locations are centrally placed in communities across the nation.
Both of these organizations provide technical assistance and advice which allows small business concerns to bridge the gap between them and large corporations. A recent study focused on small business and how technology was vital to their business. The researchers investigated the role that SBDC’s and EDC’s played in support for the small business concern in the area of technology. The authors found that small business is handicapped without the assistance of these organizations; the technology assistance assists the small business owner to compete with larger organizations (Alexander, Gibson, Lancaster, & Pryor, 2011). While the article provided necessary discussion concerning small business and technology a revised study might prove additional information which could be relevant. Shifts in Technology
There has been a shift in the business process of organizations, all as the result of technology. Organizations interact with technology daily however not all of the interaction is positive. Sometimes the technology reveals insights into a flawed manufacturing process, or accounting error; therefore businesses have to adapt using the same technology that divulges the problem. Sound business practices have always encouraged competition and sometimes businesses have to undermine their competitors by lowering prices below cost. With the advent of new technologies businesses have the ability to lower their overhead, so now when they lower prices they can still realize a profit. Despite the most efficient business plan, managers need to have contingency plans so they can adjust to new technological advances and maintain their market share. Technology shifts are one of the most difficult events to predict; however if the company is successful in managing through the shift, they have the potential to ride the new wave of technology, and increase their bottom line. Companies who resist the shift or are late in responding have the potential of failing miserably and could end up bankrupt. Reshaping of Business with Technology
The shape of business has evolved and with the use of technology organizations have the ability to sustain change and innovation like never before. There are so many areas where businesses are affected by technology that it is difficult to monitor all of the changes. In fact since technology has almost a life-like behavior it has the ability to adapt to various external or internal stimuli. The Digital Age has reshaped the landscape of business forever; however with the transformation new problems arise. Different opportunities that are emerging in the market may provide growth for a particular sector of business while another may be left behind. An article by Mr. Ramsingh discussed some of the new trends in technology and some of the disruptors that can affect business operations and models.
The focus of the research was primarily centered on the region of South Africa and how businesses located there would be impacted in the coming years. Some of the areas that were inspected were cloud computing, enterprise mobility, and social business. New technology enables a new set of disruptors for operating, competing and gaining market share and increasing profitability. Additionally it is important for businesses to understand new technological advances and how they can affect the organization ether positively or negatively (Ramsingh, 2012). Technology or Travel
Training is critical to the success of organizations. In the past companies expended large amounts of their budget to travel to exotic places and conduct seminars and conferences. While the employees enjoyed the company paid mini vacation managers justified the expenditures because the training was important to the company’s success. Technology has opened up new doors of possibility especially in the area of training. Organizations can use many forms of training in the current technological environment. Some of the new technologies are teleconferencing, online training and video conferencing. These tools allow for interactive training while minimizing the costs since travel is not required. A recent study was conducted to measure the trends of businesses specifically whether to travel for training or to use technology for the training requirements. The study researched various forms of alternatives for travel some of these included teleconferencing, web conferencing and videoconferencing since they appear to be a viable substitute for travel.
The researchers used a quantitative web questionnaire and the majority of the questions concerned manager’s preference for either travel or a form of technology for training. Based off of the results mathematics was used to formulate various percentages. The results concluded that an overwhelming majority currently replaced some conferences with video or web based conferences (Douglas, Lubbe, & Inger, 2013). Therefore given the opportunity to engage training with technology most managers would choose some form of technology. It is important to note that some training cannot be conducted online due to the complexity or hands on requirements; however most needs can be met with the use of technology. Dilemma of Technology Shifts
Organizations need to be conscious of emerging technology that could possibly affect their business model. Technology is constantly progressing; new inventions are entering the market daily. Because of the advancement in technology it is very difficult for managers to stay abreast of every new and innovative product that is produced. A new paradigm has emerged as managers are faced with technology shifts. There are uncertain possibilities while considering emerging technology and how it will affect the market. Blockbuster which was previously discussed hesitated in the face of a major technological shift and suffered greatly because of it. The unknown factor is the driving force behind the uncertainty which managers face while contemplating which direction to go. Sometimes it is unclear whether a particular technology will create a shift; however organizations need to be prepared to face the challenge head on. A recent article explored the potentiality of technological shifts and how it could affect an industry.
The research focused on a new form of Electric Road System (ERS) and how it would impact truck manufacturers. The premise was that an ERS would negatively impact truck manufacturers, because substantial amounts of capital would have to be expended in research and development; in order to devise trucks that could travel the new roads. This technological shift would hurt both car and truck companies. In fact the article stated that shifts in technology can be fatal especially in manufacturing environments. Not only would this influence the bottom line it also would affect change in the business model and future of the company (Engwall, & Tongur, 2014). Therefore while technology can be helpful it also can negatively impact a business because of technological shifts. Conclusion
The purpose of this paper was to discuss how technology has transformed business and to review scholarly articles that addressed this subject. It has been shown that business practices are affected in every area of an organization from hiring to firing; new innovative technological ideas have improved companies infrastructure and management processes. The use of technology also addresses many new challenges and organizations are faced with having to confront these head on or face harm. This literature that was reviewed investigated how technology has revolutionized business and focused on four key areas: business evolution, small business, technology shifts, and the value of information technology. Contribution of the Literature Reviewed
The literature that was reviewed contributed greatly to this paper and without it would not have been possible. Since historical data is recorded so effectively there was a plethora of information pertaining to the evolution of business. The sample of information for business evolution was selected because it gave an accurate account of the initial beginnings of the Digital Age. Specifically the discussion concerning IBM and their use of a computer to decrypt secret codes assisted the United States Government in gaining an advantage over their enemy counterparts. This example is paramount as it states the underlying discussion in how technology can create a competitive advantage if used properly. Literature in three additional areas of evolution was inspected and articles were reviewed, the reinvention of business was a subject which had many implications. With new inventions and processes organizations began to adopt more refined business models which incorporated various form of technology.
Not only has technology assisted businesses in evolving, the literature reviewed also discussed how sometimes it also can be a hindrance. The next area of literature review addressed the value technology provides for a business. The next point of research focused on the value of technology in business; four scholarly articles were reviewed and summarized. The amount of value a company receives by the use of technology can be difficult to measure. However the article reviewed established that most individuals equate a value to technology and what it provides for organizations. Another point is the impact that social media has had on corporate America. The data revealed that companies need to implement a social media program so that they can have a healthy online reputation. Overall it was determined that technology had a definitive impact on an organization and that it was important to the business model to incorporate various technologies in order to streamline the company. Scholarly articles that concerned small business was the next focus of the review. From the research that was provided small business needs to adopt technology so that they can compete in a global market.
However it was also determined that some business owners reject change and refuse the innovation that technology can bring. One article discussed how rural Appalachia was able to transform their businesses with the use of technology despite the social norms that surround a small backwoods rural area. Another point of discussion was how small business had the ability to gain assistance from government entities which afforded them the same opportunities that larger organizations have. The final area of literature that was reviewed was shifts in technology. One of the key areas in this subject addressed how corporations were effectively using technology to reduce travel. There are various forms of online training, whether webinars, web conferencing or other similar ways technology has allowed companies to actually increase the amount of training while minimizing costs. Technological shifts also cause harm since many companies are not set up to change as rapidly as they need to in order to maintain their market share. Strengths of the Literature
There were several areas where the literature that was reviewed had strengths. Many of the articles were quantitative therefore a valid data set was provided in order to substantiate the claims. The use of a quality hypothesis was also used and the data was able to either prove or disapprove the claim. For the articles that used surveys or questionnaires the questions were succinct and timely as well as direct to the point. While using the data most inferences were quantitative and were not subjective. One other point of strength was that the focal point of the articles was narrow enough to provide quality information while not being so broad that it was overwhelming in information. Weakness of the Literature
The articles that were reviewed had some weaknesses and decreased the effectiveness of the overall research. Some of the articles were written using outdated references; in fact one article in particular used data that was seven years old at the time of publishing; since technology changes so rapidly the article was outdated before it was ever written. Another shortfall of the articles that were reviewed was the fact that they were written in a qualitative format. Since data was not provided it was difficult to substantiate their claim. Finally one article in particular did not have a listing of the references that was used and that reduced the effectiveness of the article. Next Steps for Research
The subject of technology and how it has impacted business is wide open. Since technology is so rapidly advancing it will always be difficult to conduct research and to stay current. Also because cloud computing is becoming so prevalent this area would be a good topic for new articles concerning business and technology.
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