Information Communication Technology Tools in Business

Latest technological developments have shaped and are still creating trends in business management. As industries are growing and competition for market and customers’ attention keeps increasing day by day, organizations are using various information communication technology tools and strategies to beat competitors, create interactive platforms, engage their clients and customers, and deliver optimum business services capable of attracting potential customers and retaining established or loyal ones. These information communication technology tools and strategies are product of computed-mediated communication.

For many business that rely on the old style of paper-and –file office, information processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination are done through paper documents. This style is highly laborious, time-wasting, prone to errors and expensive. Copies of important documents are lost in transit, some are mutilated, operations are delayed and many offices and cabinets are filled with irrelevant papers and files causing rodents and other insects to fester.

Advances in technology worldwide have brought a change to activities in a business organization. Computers have come to replace paper and file as information is becoming highly mobile and compact daily.

A truck-load of papers and files in many cabinets can be reduced to some megabytes on a storage device, and can  be transmitted from one office and country to another within seconds.

Therefore, business offices or organisations are now automated and paperless. Simply put, ICT, information communication technology tools are used by people within business organization to create, receive, store, send and manipulate information from one person, office and place to another, and are also deployed by these people to communicate with the clients, suppliers, customers, consumers and shareholders.

What is ICT (Information Communication Technology)?

ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology. It deals with the application of technology in information management. From the earliest form of writing till date, man has been preoccupied with the desire to update, reduce time and space used in sending and receiving information and continue to remove drudgery in communicating ideas as much as possible.

ICT has been described as the uses of existing digital technology to help people and business organizations use information. Therefore, any devices that can store, retrieve, manipulate, receive and send information in a digital form are part of information communication technology.

With the aid of computer technology, business communication activities involving information creation, information storage, information retrieval, information transfer and information evaluation and use are easily carried-out through office automation.

Office automation is the desire to improve the information management capacity of an organization by ensuring that appropriate and up-to-date technologies for improving workers’ efficiency and productivity, reducing cost of operations and drudgery associated with manual labor, and improving workplace environment are acquired and used by the staff. It must be emphasized that the computers remain the most basic equipment for office automation today.

Information Communication Technology Tools in Business

A wide variety of information communication technology tools are used for external and internal communication in business environment. These tools include internet, mail, email, telephones, cell phones, smartphones, computers, video and web conferencing tools, social networking, as well as online collaboration and productivity platforms. Here some ICT tools needed for running a successful business:

1. Internet

The internet is a group of millions of computers that are connected to one another round the world. They are connected by coaxial cable, satellites, fiber optic lines, phone lines and wireless connections.

They therefore source for data and transmit data to enable users have access to unlimited volumes of information at a time. From the intranet which is available for use only in a restricted area to the World Wide Web that is universal, the internet is a source of information; helps organizations to conduct their businesses online and removes distance barriers.

With the internet, various interpersonal interactions are now possible online. For example, organizations now have websites for their customers, clients and suppliers to access information and communicate directly staff members, Twitter and Facebook accounts, whats app, Picasa, photobucket and other interactive platforms for online interaction.

2. Computer

A computer is an electronic machine that can accept, process, store and communicate large amount of information. It comprises the visual display unit (monitor), the central processing unit and the input unit.

The computer has a big capacity for managing information by acquiring, processing, storing, retrieving, transmitting and maintaining data. The computer is able to perform these operations with high speed and accuracy because of its in-built software.

Millions of information can be stored on a computer in bits and they can be easily seen, retrieved and transmitted in seconds.

The hardware of a computer comprises the mouse, keyboard, central processing unit, monitor (visual display unit) and other accessories.

Our focus as communication people is the computer software, the programme installed on the computer that makes it work. A computer software ‘consists of a set of coded instructions that a computer operator gives to make the hardware work.

Through desktop publishing, individuals and organizations can produce newsletters, periodic in- house magazines, brochures, annual general reports and even a complete book. Business organizations also use it to produce letterhead stationery, invoices, estimates, price lists, catalogues and accounting reports.

 3. Electronic Mail (e-mail)

This is a medium for exchanging messages between and among computers connected by telecommunication lines. These computers use computer-based tools, known as programs and protocols for composing, modifying, editing, retrieving and disseminating messages (Soola, 1998:95). Electronic mail system allows one person who uses a computer to send a message to another person by sending the message to the mail box of the second person, when both of them are connected by the telecommunication lines. The receiver (second person) has the opportunity to read the message, print and display it on the monitor. E-mails can be sent to many computers at a time; they are cheaper and more convenient than phoning and faster than postal delivery.

4. Facsimile (FAX) Transmission

A fax machine is like a small desktop photocopier which combines a telephone dialer, a scanner, a modem, and a small printer in a machine. Immediately the number is dialed to a document to be sent, the scanner changes the image to be sent to an electronic signal and the modem transmits the signal along a connected telephone line to another fax machine that will receive and interpret the message.

5. Mobile Phones

This is a modification to the telephone invented by Graham Bell. With the mobile phones, staff members, managers and their teeming stakeholders, clients and customers are in constant communication.

It is a latest technology that allows better interpersonal communication.  Apart from the fact that it is cheaper and easier to communicate with the mobile phones, internet-enabled mobile phones are also used to send e-mails, exchange pictures, sounds and text messages between and among telecommunication subscribers.

More than 7.33 Billion, making up 90.04% of the world’s population have access to mobile phones and many organizations are using this platform to communicate with their customers, suppliers, consumers and clients.

Customers can now lodge their complaints, order for goods and services, interact better with the staff members and ensure that customers are served satisfactorily.

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