1. IDENTIFY AND EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENT WAYS ICT COULD BE APPLIED IN BUINSESS AND MANAGEMENT
Information and communications technology (ICT) is often used as an extended synonym for Information Technology (IT), but is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communications and the telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information
ICT has gone beyond just being a business enabler to becoming a critical success factor for determining the success of a business. Anyone involved in business in today’s world must embrace as well as know how to leverage on the benefits technology to enhance profitability and drive down operational cost
Technology is developing, mutating, and adapting is so fast that as a business you cannot but embrace its benefits, else risk being be swept away in a tidal wave of progress, whether you are prepared for it or not. Technology provides the tools and functionalities for which almost every business worldwide operates upon. As at today, technology and business are inseparable, as such it has become an integral part of every business plan. From major multinationals, that operate and maintain large mainframes and ecosystems to small businesses that have only one computer, ICT can be applied in business
The following are some of the ways ICT can be applied to businesses
As the name implies, mass communication involves communicating to a large audience. Businesses make use of electronic communication to facilitate the activities of their organizations e.g. e-mail and e-newspapers to communicate to a large number of people at the same time.
In fact, many kinds of software have been introduced in different organizations, especially for internal communication. Communications between businesses are now faster because people no longer need to send a letter which takes about 24hours. They can send an instant notification for a fraction of the cost which saves costs and man power for delivery. This therefore reduces postal costs, postal staff, mail sorting and paper costs.
An inventory management system is a system that encompasses all aspects of managing a firm’s inventories; purchasing, shipping, receiving, tracking, warehousing and storage, turnover, and reordering. In summary, they track the quantity of each item a company maintains, triggering an order of additional stock when the quantities fall below a pre-determined amount. Retail firms can obtain massive benefits by integrating its inventory management systems with both logistics and its upstream supply chain. This would thrust inventory system to ‘just-in-time’ demand-pull supply systems which implies essentially linking reordering to real-time electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) – record consumer demand, allow tracking of orders consequently substantial reductions in both retailer inventory holdings and the amount of capital tied up in those holdings
Inventory management is pivotal in any effective and efficient organization. The principal goal of inventory management involves having to balance the conflicting economics of not wanting to hold so few or too much stock. Such a golden balance is important in two ways; firstly, as it saves the organization from having to tie up inactive capital, incurring huge costs in storage, spoilage, pilferage and obsolescence of inventory and secondly to avert the cost of not meeting customer requirements.
Incorporating Inventory Management Systems to saves cost and unessaery
Data Storage & Management
Information technology has created electronic storage systems to protect valuable records. Storage systems, such as virtual vaults, keep information safe by only allowing authorized company staff or individuals can have access, withdraw, add or change the documents. In times of technological disaster, IT security engineering systems protect electronic information from being hacked or wiped out. Electronic security engineering ensures that valuable records remain untouchable.
Large corporations and small businesses likewise can leverage on power of data
Data management deals with managing different type of data’s in companies, schools, colleges, businesses, institutes etc. in more specified manners so when any person needed that data for use then that can easily be retrieved. And for this type of data management cannot done without Information technologies. As information technologies provides then diverse types of software’s data storing purposes, accounting’s etc.
Management Information Systems
Management Information Systems (MIS) enable businesses to track their sales data, expenses and productivity levels and help companies to grow their business. The information can be used to track profitability over time, maximize return on investment and identify areas of improvement and make to grow in international markets. Managers can track sales daily and weekly basis, allowing them to immediately react to lower-than-expected numbers by increasing employee productivity or reducing the cost of an item.
Customer Relationship and Management
CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a system which aims at improving the relationship with existing customers, finding new prospective customers, and winning back former customers. This system can be brought into effect with software which helps in collecting, organizing, and managing the customer information.
Implementing a CRM strategy is advantageous to both small-scale and large-scale business ventures. If you want to find out what are the benefits of using CRM for your business, then read further to know the key points.
Now companies are using information technologies to improve their customer relationship management. As CRM deal with the care and interests of their customers and clients, so by using information technologies customer relationship managers serve their clients and customers in more relevant ways by providing instant services via email, phones, SMS communications.
One of the prime benefits of using a CRM is obtaining better customer satisfaction. By using this strategy, all dealings involving servicing, marketing, and selling your products to your customers can be carried out in an organized and systematic way. You can also praovide better services to customers through improved understanding of their issues and this in turn helps in increasing customer loyalty and decreasing customer agitation. In this way, you can also receive continuous feedback from your customers regarding your products and services. It is also possible that your customers recommend you to their acquaintances, when you provide efficient and satisfactory services.
By using a CRM strategy a business will be able to increase the revenue of your company to a great extent. Using the data collected, you will be able to popularize marketing campaigns in a more effective way. With the help of CRM software, you can ensure that the product promotions reach a different and brand-new set of customers, and not the ones who had already purchased your product, and thus effectively increase your customer revenue.
Advertising, Marketing and Brand Awareness
Advertising, Marketing and Brand awareness are important in promoting and projecting a business with the aim of giving information about goods and services offered. This, if executed rightly will have a direct impact on sales and turn over
The advent of social media to ICT has totally changed the way advertising, marking and brand awareness is carried out by businesses. This has also brought about a dramatic change to the relationship between a brand. It has given immense control and power to consumers and large corporations and well-known brands no longer have the so called upper hand.
Top notch executives and business owners now understood that social media can make or break their business, so they have taken the opportunity to build a presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to do business.
By using social media, companies now can create strategies after they analyze the analytics to understand the target consumer’s demands and likes/dislikes Companies have started to give preference to the buyer’s participation in their online marketing.
They are creating polls and user generated hashtag campaigns, producing appealing podcasts and making videos to promote their brands.
Some hold competitions where the participants are asked to submit or share ideas or content created solely by them; this motivates the buyer to purchase the relevant product or service because now they know that their wishes are being valued.
Research shows that most consumers have a habit of spending a minimum of half an hour per day in various social media sites as such, social media has become a requirement for digital marketing advertising and promoting the brand of a business
1. WITH CLEAR EXPLANATIONS, DISTINGUISH AMONG INTRANET, INTERNET, AND EXTRANET IN TERMS OF THEIR APPLICATIONS IN BUSINESS
What is an Internet?
The Internet is a worldwide system of connected networks. Each network consists of millions of computers, servers, routers, and printers. You can think of the Internet like the telephone network or the interstate highway system. You may have even heard people refer to the Internet as the Information Super Highway. The networks that make up the Internet may be owned and maintained by different companies but messages and data move across all of them without regard to ownership because they all use the same protocol or language to communicate.
The Internet is an extremely cost-effective resource that businesses can use to promote communication throughout the supply chain and within a company itself. The Internet also has many business applications about the way companies can communicate with their customers.
The biggest cost in adoption of the Internet in business is the cost of Internet service and the cost of the hardware used to access the Internet, such as a computer, which is still minimal and likely an expense that would exist with or without company-wide Internet access.
Benefits of Implementing an Internet.
1. Use Within Company- Within the company, employees from one division can interact with employees from another division to conference call, collaborate on documents, maintain a common calendar for a specific project or client, access files remotely, interface fully with colleagues even while away from the office. In many cases, the forms of communication afforded by the Internet are more secure than traditional methods of faxing, mailing and phoning in that files are rarely lost, misplaced or damaged. Further, using the Internet to accomplish these tasks within the company is more cost effective than traditional methods.
2. Supply Chain- Communication within the supply chain can also benefit from the use of the Internet as well. Businesses can communicate cheaply and efficiently with suppliers and distributors, using the Internet as a way to make orders and receive orders. In addition, if a supplier is unable to meet an order, the Internet can help businesses locate alternate material sources. Likewise, the Internet can be used to take advantage of outsourcing opportunities, enabling a business to find a professional as needed, whether to fill in for an employee, spearhead a marketing campaign, manage a project, plan an event or handle non-core operations, such as billing.
3. Marketing- The Internet can also benefit businesses in their operations, allowing them an easy way to do research, such as what are people searching for; conduct surveys, including social media, and send out information about promotions, including email marketing campaigns. Aside from the fact that using the Internet for marketing is much cheaper than traditional methods. An email marketing campaign costs pennies to send out, a billboard or magazine ad can costs hundreds, if not thousands. Also, because of the way the Internet is structured — namely keyword-oriented — it is easier to target marketing messages to specific demographics, such as parents, graphic designers, or consumer groups, including lactose-intolerant, recycling advocates.
4. Customer Management- In this same way, the Internet can be used by businesses to manage customer interactions more effectively. A business can use the Internet to answer questions easily, and inexpensively, by responding to email, social media posts, or blog comments. The Internet can also be used to support current customers through facilitating the transmission of promotions, updates, new releases, new features, new locations.
What is an Intranet?
An intranet is a private secured network designed to facilitate collaboration, where employees in a business can create content, communicate and get work done. It also helps in promoting and building culture
an intranet is a private, secured network designed to facilitate collaboration and make it easier to communicate and share documents in real time. An intranet is typically used internally and allows employees and colleagues to work with each other in a virtual space — no outside parties are involved.
Intranets can help streamline day to day activity, help organize people and data, improve internal communications, and increase employee engagement. They’re also very effective for remote employees, as they will never lose the ability to collaborate with each other like they could in a traditional office setting. As companies become more and more decentralized, intranets hold more importance in the business landscape than ever before.
Benefits of Implementing an Intranet.
1. Improved Productivity- An intranet is the “home” for employees (ideally) and the intranet desktop is probably the first thing they see in the morning. An intranet gives employees of a business access to all the tools and information they need to effectively perform that day’s tasks, every day, can go a thousand miles in improving productivity. Some examples of these tools and information are latest events and meetings, outstanding tasks, new discussions, important documents, relevant business news, e-mails etc.
2. Corporate Communications. Since an intranet is an employees’ main window into corporate tools and information, and occupies a very important part of their attention space, it offers a great place for the management to communicate with employees. The management can publish important announcements, advertise new initiatives and policies, communicate company history, culture and positioning, recognize outstanding employees, as well as gather feedback in the form of surveys and suggestions
3. Streamline processes. Modern intranets contain not only static information, but the actual tools that employees use for work. This presents a great opportunity to use intranets as a place where business can document processes, and provide the actual tools to automate processes. Many companies use intranets to automate anything from simple processes like employee appraisals to sophisticated processes like CRM and project management.
4. Better Collaboration. Modern intranets have collaboration and social tools built into them. Not only can employees access work related information, they can also share and work together on it within the intranet. Networking tools allow employees to discover the skills and competencies of fellow workers and bypass corporate hierarchies to connect with them directly.
5. Knowledge Management. In its very broadest sense, knowledge management means capturing, organizing and retrieving corporate information. With all tools and information within the intranet, and employees constantly adding new information in the form of comments, discussions, blogs, documents; the intranet serves as a centralized place to capture important corporate information. Tools like search ensure that employees across the company network can find just the information they need to perform their jobs.
What is an Extranet?
An Extranet is basically a private network designed specifically to allow these individuals (clients, vendors, suppliers, partners, etc.) to communicate with you and your employees in a closed virtual space. Extranets serve an extremely important role, as they allow for private communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing, document sharing, and data transfer between organizations.
An extranet can be used to meet a variety of different needs. Large volumes of data can be exchanged between parties via extranets, for example, and they can also be used to create collaboration. The latter is especially useful for businesses that need to brainstorm or work back and forth with clients and customers, and it can save hours of time in comparison to using email and/or telephone. Extranets are also used to help monitor and fix any potential bugs or issues that can occur with a company’s products or services functioning like built-in quality control
In the past, these networks were relatively simplistic in design and allowed for minimal augmentation or tweaking. Companies and their clients or vendors could communicate and perhaps share light documents, but that was about the extent of it.
Today’s extranets, on the other hand, are far more versatile and useful. In many ways, they’re becoming a B2B necessity that simply can’t be overlooked any longer.
Given the fact that technology has advanced at an exponential rate over the course of just the past decade, it should come as no surprise that the extranets of today are an entirely different animal from what was available to businesses years ago.
Sharing large files is easier than ever, real-time conversations are possible, and sharable calendars help keep everyone on the same page. An extranet can be viewed as a full-fledged virtual, interactive, collaborative community for you, your clients, and your customers.
Benefits of Implementing an Extranet.
1. An extranet can streamline repetitive business processes.
Let’s say you order from a particular vendor on a regular basis, often usin4g email or phone as a conduit. With a well-designed extranet, all of your ordering can take place via your secured private network in a virtual space. Any interactions with vendors occur in real time, and you can store invoices along with any other pertinent information in one place. This makes it easy to refer back to purchases you’ve made in the past. Keeping everything in the same virtual space not only cuts down on wasted time, but comes along with a wealth of organizational benefits.
2. It can increase customer satisfaction.
One of the key benefits of an extranet is that it can be accessed from any computer at any time of the day or night. 24/7 access means that your clients and customers can upload documents, ask questions, or approve designs/concepts whenever they have the time to do so, thus breaking down the barriers often caused by a more rigid work schedule.
3. Extranets are beneficial because they are highly secure when properly designed.
In some industries (medical, insurance, etc.), security is of the utmost importance, and a breach could end in disaster. In many ways, email and other tools that are often used to transfer documents lack the type of security necessary to avoid a potential breach. When care is taken in designing an extranet, these concerns are no longer an issue.