Discuss and Explain ICT services in a Business Environment
Businesses today are beginning to realize and enjoy the full benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) across different segments of their operations. Technology is widely utilized as an enabler of business processes that enhances productivity by making daily activities faster and more effective. ICT applications can be applied to almost every aspect of the business that involves communication, knowledge transfer, marketing and networking. This study takes a look at the concept of ICT, the associated benefits and the enabling factors that help to facilitate its implementation and sustenance.
ICT is a comprehensive term that is used to describe all information processing technologies and telecommunications devices. The internet, computers, mobile phones and fixed telephone lines are basic examples of devices that have been facilitated by ICT.
ICT has changed the face of modern telecommunication devices by connecting people across the world so that businesses and countries can realize the full benefits of globalization and collaboration. ICT services provide solutions that equip businesses with tools to enhance their financial performance, efficiency, and optimal utilization of available resources. Computer systems are necessary for the facilitation of day to day transactions. ICT services also aim to design and implement systems that can meet and exceed the basic communication needs of clients and customers. It contributes significantly to identifying and sustaining economic opportunities that would otherwise not be realized easily without the available technological solutions.
Data within the organizations need to be properly managed, collated, protected and distributed to members of staff and clients when needed. Networks that can connect different systems within the business are designed for efficient sharing and processing of information.
ICT services also include Internet and email facilities that facilitate the exchange of information and ideas within a business environment. By implementing technological facilities like websites, chat rooms, online discussion groups, the needs of numerous customers across the world can be met. Customers are able to communicate and obtain the information they need to make important decisions or meet their requirements.
A major advantage of ICT is that it offers a global platform for conducting businesses with different people regardless of distance, language and political barriers. In order to fully realize the inherent benefits of ICT, policy makers should continually strive to create an environment that encourages the growth of ICT (OECD, 2003). Policy action makes the use of ICT more effective as it affects the economic growth of most countries. Having an ICT sector can be relevant to economic development if the sector is progressive and in demand. Its most important benefit arises from its effective use because it increases productivity at all levels. ICT helps businesses expand their product range, extend their services, be innovative, and to integrate their activities throughout the value chain (OECD, 2003).
One of the major factors that encourage firms to employ the use of ICT is a competitive environment. Companies will be forced to put in their best in areas of electronic commerce, customer service, marketability and coverage through the use of ICT services. Governments also need to do their part in helping businesses integrate information technology into their business processes. ICT is closely tied to a firm’s ability to innovate by introducing new products, applications and services (OECD, 2003). ICT also helps to fast track innovation by speeding up scientific discovery, networking and globalization. Government Policy should continually aid innovation through fundamental research, research and development funding and knowledge sharing between science and industry (OECD, 2003).
Government intervention plays a major role in the deployment of ICT services because it can provide a framework for good management of businesses and corporate governance. For ICT services to prosper in an organization, obstacles to organizational change, education and training, corporate governance facilities should be eliminated to ensure that an environment that promotes the use and deployment of ICT solutions is sustained (OECD, 2003).
OECD. (2003). Seizing the Benefits of ICT in a Digital Economy. Retrieved January 20, 2009, from ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/42/2507572.pdf