Only once in a lifetime will a new invention come about to touch every aspect of our lives. Such a device that changes the way we work, live, and play is a special one, indeed. A machine that has done all this and more now exists in nearly every business in the US and one out of every two households (4). This incredible invention is the computer. The electronic computer has been around for over a half-century, but its ancestors have been around for 2000 years. However, only in the last 40 years has its impact been shown on the American Business Culture.
From the first wooden bacus to the latest high-speed microprocessor, the computer has changed nearly every aspect of people’s lives at home and in the business. The very earliest existence of the modern day computer’s ancestor is the abacus. These date back to almost 2000 years ago. It is simply a wooden rack holding parallel wires on which beads are strung. When these beads are moved along the wire according to “programming” rules that the user must memorize, all ordinary arithmetic operations can be performed.
Another great innovation in computers took place in 1694 when Blaise Pascal nvented the first “digital calculating machine”. It could only add numbers and they had to be entered by turning dials. It was designed to help Pascal’s father who was a tax collector. In the early 1800’s, a mathematics professor named Charles Babbage designed an automatic calculation machine. It was steam powered and could store up to 1000 50-digit numbers. Built in to his machine were operations that included everything a modern general-purpose computer would need.
It was programmed by–and stored data on–cards with holes punched in them, appropriately called “punchcards”. His inventions were failures for the most part because of the lack of precision machining techniques used at the time and the lack of demand for such a device. After Babbage, people began to lose interest in computers. However, between 1850 and 1900 there were great advances in mathematics and physics that began to rekindle the interest.
Many of these new advances involved complex calculations and formulas that were very time consuming for human calculation, thus humans need for a computing system to assist in the calculations (3). With a spark f interest in the early 1900’s has come a flood of advancements in the computing industry. Today almost every business and household owns a personal computer and if not there is some sort of computing device in their home or office. From the abacus to the modern day micro-processors computers have affected many aspects of today’s home and work environment.
The word ubiquitous means ever present or occurring everywhere. This term could be used to describe the use of the computer in the business. The business world’s benefit alone is enough to make a head spin. Every time a person goes to the grocery store, the bank, the local ATM, or even the neighborhood gym the benefit by the use of computers in modern society is unforeseen by most civilians. Many fields in business depend on the convenience, speed, accuracy, and reliability that computers have become known for.
Most individuals do not realize how much computers have improved there own productivity throughout the day, from waking up and checking e-mail via the internet in the morning to taking part in video conference to Hong Kong after lunch. Computers exert such a strong influence because they can affect both production and coordination (1). With businesses using more technology today than ever it is evident the computers have improved production for most more than ever dreamed.
With almost every company using some sort of computer technology it has become imperative that different types of computing systems be built specifically for certain companies. First a company must research the impact computers will have on keeping track of there accounts. Then they must choose the correct hardware and oftware to best suit their particular needs, while at the same time making themselves familiar with the new enhancements that increase productivity. Finally, the company must allow time for installation and training.
The hardware and software chosen for use in a company will not be 100% productive unless the individuals running the systems are properly trained. Computers do take the place of many human tasks but it is imperative that the individuals running the systems are trained to operate the computer to its optimum productivity level. When evaluating the need for a computerized system in a company one will also need to forecast the future demands of the company. After all to survive in the technological business world of today one must anticipate the future and not react to the past (4).
With the future in mind many companies have come to realize that it is time to leave the filing cabinet behind and computerize. Given what computers now allow an alert organization to do, an organization that merely works faster and harder will become uncompetitive in the global marketplace(1). How does one know when it is time to make the critical transition? It is when management finds itself unable to keep track of its business? Which products are profitable? Which are not? Which customers pay on time? Which do not?
Having easy access to this data is essential to running a healthy and competitive business. The telegraph and telephone were the forebears of the IT and were central to the rise of a modern industrial cooperation (3). Today companies are being introduced to the computer and many have already made the switch to become a modern omputerized cooperation. When the company has grown enough that management no longer has access to the data used to make informed decisions, then it is time to switch to a computerized data management system.
These computerized data management systems are often called information systems. The company now has two choices. It can either hire a professional consulting firm to help select and install the computer system, or venture out on its own to make these important decisions. Adequate planning is the most important step in assuring the successful use of computer technology. Most companies would be better off seeking the aid of a consulting firm. They are better informed on the different types of hardware and software that would best suit the computing needs (3).
An outside firm is a better choice because they are less likely to make a costly mistake when choosing the new system. Another benefit to using a consulting firm would be there help in setting-up the procedures for using the new computer system and the necessary training to implement those procedures. Once the company has decided that they will benefit from computer nhancements it is then a matter of choosing which software and hardware at would be most useful. Software is just another name for the programming that computers run on.
It is the language that tells computers what to do. When choosing software it is important to, make sure to select the right number and combination of software “modules” to meet a company’s needs. The objective is to come up with an integrated system by selecting the modules important to the company. Here is an example of an integrated system. Say an employee sends a bill to customer. With manual systems one would have to ost it three times to the sales journal, to a customer receivable account and to the general ledger.
But with an integrated computer system one entry and the data will be posted automatically to all the appropriate files (4). There is an alternative to buying packaged software. A Company can have a custom program written. Custom programs are very expensive. Costing, up to $25,000 more, depending on the number of modules one will buy. They are generally uneconomical and unnecessary. In most cases people are able to purchase pre-packaged software at a fraction of the cost of custom oftware. Price is not the only consideration. Before one buys, they need to find out what comes in a software package.
Read the manuals and determine if the features satisfy everything that the company requires. A good word to describe computers is ever changing (1). One should always be on the lookout for new computer technology to help the company. Very often the company can increase productivity with just a few enhancements. For example, multilingual programs have grown important over the years. As trade barriers in the world crumble and new opportunities continue to grow.
Mid-sized and even small businesses expand their market beyond U. S. oarders; they are then faced with using multilingual computer systems. The basic tools that do these jobs constitute a unique class of software especially designed for the international arena. Today computers are allowing companies as large Dell Computer Corporation and as small as your local mom and pop florist to handle shipping and sells tractions around the world. Technology does not have to be new in order to be useful. The need for it is what is important to the company. So it is always good to never over look anything when searching for new tools.
Even though it may be old some computing systems work just as well today as they did five years ago, and some companies may not need a program to work any faster than an older model does. After selecting a computing system the next step is selecting the appropriate hardware to handle the computing needs. Hardware comprises all the physical items that allow a computer to run programs, such as a printer, a monitor, a mouse, a keyboard, and a modem among other things. The memory where information is stored on a computer is also considered hardware (3).
When choosing the proper hardware one should not base all the decisions on price alone. Compare several vendors, selecting the one with the best combination of service, training, and warranties. The company will start to rely on the computers, so they must be certain that it can get serviced. Many try and look for vendors with a strong service outlet near the company. Most try and steer clear of systems that have just entered the market, considering the high mortality rate in he computer industry. The company may not be around when it comes time to get service.
There are many things to consider when purchasing hardware as well as software, so it is good to be sure to give proper consideration to using a consulting firm. A company that has just recently decided to computerize will be amazed at the amount of increased productivity in their business. Computers do a lot more for business than most realize. Many computing systems allow a company to share information with other branches of their business, this allows the ompany to easily relay product shortages and product demands in certain areas. Ultimately, just about everything and everyone will be networked.
Internet access will be everywhere, whether from a personal computer, a handheld organizer, a pager, or some other remote communication device (2). Businesses today depend more and more on quick and reliable information and the computing system they choose will be the tool that gets it to them. Anyone today can use certain computing technology to benefit their business in many ways other than keeping file information. With the invention of ireless communication and networking from system to system companies can now connect their computing systems to one anther in order to share certain information between locations.
For example the United Parcel Service uses a web based tracking system that allows not only them to track packages but the sender or receiver can log on to the internet and track the package also (5). They use this system to help in locating miss sorted packages which allows them to help in garneting delivery times. This is just one of many examples that can be given showing the vast improvement computers have ade on businesses productivity. Computers are advancing at a none stop rate and as more technological advance are made so will the ability for business to improve their productivity.
Although computers do help in the over all productivity of the business, it doesn’t come without a few worries. Many times a business may take the time and money to have a computing system installed just to see the over all moral of the organizations culture lowered. This can be caused by the notion that the computing system was put in for the reason of taking employee positions. In some case this may be true, but in majority of cases it is not. Employees need to be informed that the system is a tool not a replacement.
Time is the only real solution to this problem, its imperative that the company allow adequate time for employees to become accustom to the new style of working. The system is put into place to help in making informed decisions which helps in improve productivity by removing a lot of the variables that came with a manual system. With increased productivity comes an increase in moral which can allow the company to be even more uccessful. The burning question is where technology can go from here.
Only our imagination is the limit. More Businesses are now equipped with computer than ever before. Some employees are provided with laptop computers to help perform on sight job. Technology is now a very important part of a Business culture. Technology, when used properly can improve skill learning, skill teaching, and the operation of a business. For the bottom employees through how many ever levels of management the entire organization most work together to achieve success.
Technology is still expensive and employee training is an ongoing task. Video conferencing via telecommunications is now an every day occurrence. The concept of a “virtual office” with little or no physical attendance is growing an encouraged. Employees must be given incentives to utilize technology. They must see the benefits to not only themselves but also their customers. Well- qualified and well-trained employees must take advantage of technology and use it in the right environment, at the right time, and in the right way.