We live in a digital age, where success is highly dependent on the innovations made be it in business or any other aspect of life. This track of thought means a business must do things differently and apply innovative mechanisms to beat the competition. Technology and especially information technology has proven to provide the edge needed to succeed in business by using innovative ways to maximise output with minimising input. Furthermore, IT has drastically changed the lives of individuals who contribute to the different business organisations around the world (Afzal-Butt 2015). In addition to this, Consider innovations such as online shopping, E-commerce, E-banking and even social networking among many others that have changed business today. To this end, this paper will analyse the relationship between IT and business while focusing the analysis on Telstra, a telecommunication company in Australia.
Information Technology and Business
Telstra is the largest telecommunication and Media Company in Australia serving millions of customers across the region with thousands of employees. So, does this multi-billion corporation need information technology in its day to day activities? Without hesitation, the answer is yes. For one, the primary objective of Telstra is communication and no other technology provides more ability and efficiency to do so than IT. Applying common resources such as networks, communication equipment and internet protocols the company is able to transfer information to different customers. Secondly, Telstra has millions of customers who expect efficient services, this efficiency is only accomplished through innovation and more so automation (Sheahan 2017). Automated processes from call forwarding, customer care and even billing services improve the overall performance of the company’s systems. Finally, consider storage and protection of data, data from the customers and the employee’s themselves. Information technology offers Telstra with the necessary electronic storage systems to store and protect its valuable data which in the end maintains the company’s integrity.
I.T. and business survival
As seen from the previous sections businesses need technology to survive, technology is no longer a complementary feature by a mandatory, foundation element of a business. Businesses face a broader spectrum of variables than before, for instance, competition amongst businesses is now at an all-time high. Telstra is among many other capable telecommunication companies. Through digital media they are able to reach a wider audience who later turn out to be customers, increasing their survival tactics (Kramer, Jenkins & Katz 2007). Moreover, through IT Telstra is able to optimise on available resources, reducing wastage and thus reducing the overall operational costs. In addition to this, they are able to provide better service to the customers, today's phone calls are more streamlined and clear because of the digital medium. This improved service maintains a high clientele base who become better partners for the business.
Requirements of I.T. in a business
A successful integration between IT and business depends on good strategic decisions. These decisions are then driven by research done prior to planning the implementation mechanisms or even technology features. Furthermore, through appropriate information systems, a company is able to estimate the costs, schedules and equipment needed for IT integration in a business. Telstra on its behalf must have developed countless reports and projects estimations on the technologies they eventually implemented using the objectives they had. For instance, they had to have an estimate of the number of subscribers they intended to have and the equipment that could handle that numbers. Secondly, they had to identify the employees and the training needed by the new recruits. Coincidently, information technology was used to analyse this information and produce conclusive estimations (Pilepic & Simunic 2009).
Telstra use of Information Technology
Most of Telstra internal operations are conducted through the company’s intranet which is in itself an internal private internet. Through this platform, employees are able to communicate with one another and manage the company’s enormous clientele. Moreover, it’s through the intranet that the management systems are based i.e. Enterprise management system (ERP) and the customer resource management system (CRM). Through this system, the management is able to monitor the company’s activities and meet the needs of the clients. Finally, the human resource management system is also based on an online platform that allows digital advertisement of vacant positions as well as the management of internal staff (CBN 2017).
Externally, information technology is first used in the CRM system mentioned above. Through this system customer’s complaints, recommendations and queries are answered. Moreover, through online platforms i.e. social media and e-mails, customers are updated on company’s products and also their payments. In addition to this, customers are served through telecommunication infrastructure set up by internet protocols among other networking standards.
Advantages and Benefits of I.T.
In the section above we have highlighted some of the applications of IT in business and more particularly in Telstra, however, what are the advantages of these systems or tools used? Beyond efficiency and automation of operations? Below are some of these advantages
Revenue generation – A company like Telstra exist because of information technology. It is through the digital medium (phones, telecom masts and electromagnetic waves) that they are able to offer communication services. These businesses then charge for the services rendered earning money.
Cost effectiveness – IT has computerised business operations from customer payments to the delivery of service. This application has helped streamline the work done by businesses thus reducing their overall expenditure costs. Similarly, Telstra is able to save on operation cost and maximise on available resources through IT.
Time efficiency – Today, businesses stay active 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, this efficiency is simply enabled by automated systems monitored by few individuals set up at convenient company locations.
Flexibility – Employees through innovations such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are able to carry their work with them. Therefore they are able to work from any location based on their convenience.
I.T. Risk Evaluation in Business
A key concept in technology that is highly favoured today is automation, organisations like Telstra are increasingly automating their operations to reduce operation costs and also to deliver quick and efficient services. However, automation of services means automating information through the mediums it’s carried, this carry’s some serious risk that can be detrimental to a business. Telstra having stored its customer’s confidential information may end up losing it or leaking it to a third party it if a malicious person successfully hacks their database systems. Cybercrime as its known is a criminal activity associated with computers and its affiliate devices. These criminal activities are highly prevalent today and any company is susceptible to them (McConnell International 2000). Moreover, cybercrime makes a business vulnerable to risks such as breach of privacy, loss of data integrity and customer security depending on the information and criminal assailant involved.
Secondly, consider the conflict brought by technology to existing laws especially those of privacy and security. To secure online data, companies strongly scrutinise the data owned by customers to authenticate their identities. Some of these background checks violate the rights of the customers who out of ignorance validate them which in some cases makes them vulnerable. Moreover, social networking exposes people and businesses to privacy issues as well as security issues, again this based on the information presented online.
Monitoring I.T. operations in business
Business monitoring is an integral part of any successful business more so when considering the automated systems put in place. IT risks such as cybercrime increase the necessity of monitoring activities in a business. Telstra, for instance, has an entire department dedicated to information technology, its role is to monitor the company’s systems to ensure they work as they were originally set and with the utmost efficiency. Moreover, through the same department, risks such as hacking and data loss are avoided. In addition to this, special monitoring and maintenance tools are used to maintain accurate records of all IT related activities. These tools are able to monitor networks, information system (ERP and CRM) and even the database systems. However, these systems are coordinated and monitored by certified administrators with the necessary expertise (Rouse 2017).
Several factors contribute towards the success of a business, however, none are more important than having the right analysis methods, technology and the overall business vision. Through the vision, a business uses the analysis methods to make decisions that drive an organisation or company. A quick look at Telstra website will notify you of the recent company venture be it a new data package they offering or the business support they offer. These ventures are guided by decisions which are made based on prior business analysis that offer the best outcome. Information technology is now key to this setup since it provides a business with the opportunity to collect and analyse data in order to plan for future ventures.
Moreover, it is through information technology that the business is able to reach its customers and present its vision. Consider digital marketing, an online tool that allows a company to promote its products or services to a wide range of viewers, viewers who can amount to the millions. Finally, consider the efficiency and convenience brought by modern day technology, telecommunication and cloud computing now enables globalisation which increases the customer base of the company, increasing its market share. Therefore, information technology is no longer an option but a necessity for the success of a business.
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