Importance of Information Technology

Information technology pertains to the study, design, and development of computer systems (hardware and software) and networks, which are used for obtaining, processing, and distributing data. This field has been growing at a very fast pace over the last few years, and according to experts, this growth is expected to remain stable. Millions of jobs have been created by IT, and hence, today, it is essential for everyone to understand what information technology is, and how it plays a vital role in every aspect of modern-day life.

Why is Information Technology Important in Business?

Information technology today is essential in ensuring the smooth functioning of all the departments in a company, such as the human resource department, finance department, manufacturing department and in security related purposes.

Many different businesses require specialized software-packages for satisfying their operational as well as functional needs. The major companies sign deals with the software manufacturing companies to purchase their products along with their yearly updates. Some even get specific software designed according to their individual needs.

The manufacturing and production companies, such as those in the automobile sector, use IT and software products to get rid of any sort of errors or mistakes, in the proper functioning of the tools used for designing and manufacturing purposes. Further, thanks to the developments in the information technology sector, these companies are able to keep themselves aware of the changes in the global markets.

The software applications and the hardware devices are known to be the main elements required for the use of information technology. The web browsers, the operating systems, ERP’s and special purpose applications are the software which are used in information technology.

IT plays an important role in easily solving the mathematical problems especially in engineering and in the project management system. It has great use in the automated production of sensitive information, up-gradation of the important business processes, and streamlining of the various business processes. It also plays an important role in the areas of communication and automated administration of entire systems.

Importance of Information Technology in Management

Information Technology has a significant presence in the management of various organizations. It helps the managers in adapting to the new business processes, and also for predicting the possible impacts of newer technologies.

The managers can benefit from the efficiently prepared computer packages and the electronically stored confidential information. With just a single click of the mouse, they can have the relevant information in front of their screen.

However, to be able to handle these software packages in a better way, the managers have to undergo quality training in the use of information technology. Taking this need into consideration, many corporate organizations can be seen taking special efforts for the development of these skills, via training programs prepared by experienced software professionals.

Importance of Information Technology in Education

Information technology has made its presence in the educational sector too. It helps the students as well as the teachers in studying the course material easily, by enabling faster access to information from across the globe, on a number of different topics.

Studying the subjects with the help of on-line libraries and dictionaries, has made grasping and learning easier for the students. The inclusion of information technology in the syllabus of schools, colleges and universities, has helped them in understanding their subjects well, and for getting their basics and fundamentals cleared.

The on-line grading system, used by many educational centers, is a boon for the parents, as it helps them keep track of their children’s performances and progress. IT based communication systems such as emails, SMS, etc., can also be used to forward the details of the attendance record of the children to their parents or guardians.

Thus, the applications of the IT sector today, are visible in many different fields, ranging from industrial, managerial, to educational. With newer innovations and developments happening daily, the IT sector is expected to grow at an even faster pace in the coming years, thereby creating ample opportunities for deserving candidates, improving the different processes and procedures, and further enriching our lives.

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.

What is Information Technology

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) defines Information Technology as “the study, design, development, implementation, support, or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.”

Information, meaning processed form of raw data, is something which is valued very highly in today’s world. A person possessing the right kind of information and using it at the right time, can surely work wonders. From the credit card numbers which we use for shopping, to the confidential bank account details, everything is stored in the form of binary digits in computers. These details can be used or misused depending on what kind of people have authorized or unauthorized access to it. With the help of IT and our increasing dependency on machines, our life has become far easier, but we are more vulnerable now than before.

What is Information Technology?

The term ‘information technology’ (IT) evolved in the 1970s and if we consider a medium or large company providing goods or services, its IT department will be responsible for storing, protecting, processing, retrieving, and transmitting the information. IT is a wide and varied sector, and is represented in some form in almost all the industries. It is a blend of computers and communication technology where IT professionals perform a variety of duties, ranging from development and installation of applications, to designing complex computer networks and databases. The IT industry consists of computers, communication mediums, peripherals, electronics-related organizations, software, and services. Usage of IT for the completion of tasks in any organization, speeds up the processing and information mobility, and also improves the reliability and integrity of information.

Components

Computers: Computers are very important in order to store and process data. Depending on the size, cost, and processing ability, computers are divided into four categories. They are mainframes, supercomputers, minicomputers, and microcomputers (desktops or personal computers).
Servers: A server is a combination of hardware and software, and it provides services to the client computers. These services generally include storage and retrieval of information. A standalone computer can also act as a server, provided it’s running a server operating system.
Database Management Systems (DBMS): Database Management System is basically a set of software programs, which manage the storage, retrieval, and organization of the information in a computer. This information is in the form of a database and is managed with the help of software. The DBMS accepts requests from the application program and instructs the operating system to transfer the appropriate data. There are various departments to monitor the flow of information, which include System Administrators, IT Managers, Database Administrators, and Chief Information Officers (CIOs).
Networking: A computer network is a collection of computers and peripherals connected to each other through different modes. These can be wired or wireless. The network allows computers to communicate with each other (share data and resources like printers, scanners, etc.).
Network Security and Cryptography: Network security is one of the most important aspects of IT. It consists of all the provisions made in an underlying computer network, so as to prevent unauthorized usage of information. It also includes implementing the policies adopted by the government and the applicable cyber laws. It is also helpful in providing protection from computer hacking at the cyber boundaries of an organization.

The cost of transmitting information has fallen dramatically, and according to a study, the cost of transfer of one trillion bits from Boston to Los Angeles has come down from a whopping USD 150,000 in 1970 to merely 12 cents today. With the help of Internet technology, emailing a document of 40 pages from Chile to Kenya costs less than 10 cents, which is nothing as compared to the faxing price of USD 10 or sending it by courier for USD 50. Hence, it can be clearly seen that there are many advantages of IT, and it has drastically decreased the cost of information transfer. It has also increased the efficiency of employees in all organizations, allowing them to focus on core competencies rather than the technological issues.

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.
     1. Confidentiality: It is preventing the information from being disclosed through unauthorized access.
2. 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.
3. 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.