The Impact of Information Technology on Business Processes
Information, by a broad definition, is structured, processed and organised information made available to decision makers. It gives context to data and allows decision making to be done in an appropriate and informed manner. For instance, a single consumer’s sale at a particular restaurant is information this becomes data when the company is able to identify which of the least or most popular dishes are offered. The same information can be used to predict demand for that product in the future. We can use this information to improve service levels in many ways.
The ability to collect, process and utilise information technology has had a huge impact on the business over recent years. Decision-makers now have the ability to analyse large amounts of data quickly and efficiently to form decision-making outcomes that are informed by facts. Decision-making now relies much more on information systems than ever before. This is particularly true in areas where there is limited or even no formal government control. Examples include decisions relating to immigration, energy, health, transport and telecommunications. Decision-makers have to be highly informed about complementary networks because these could affect how they conduct business.
Defining information systems involves much more than using computers and making information systems. This article only touches on some of the issues. I have worked with large companies for many years and there is a real need to get a firm grip on what complementary networks are in this day and age, what role they play in an organisation and how they can be used to benefit an organisation. This has to start at the executive level and spread through organisations from the top down. It is also important for managers to understand how computers can help them become more effective decision makers.
The introduction of information systems into business processes has made it much easier for employees to do their job. With computerization, it is now much easier to process large amounts of data and this is certainly something worth pursuing. Information technology has also brought about huge improvements in business processes, especially in customer relationships. By using computers and other information technology, people are now able to communicate with each other in real time, something that was almost impossible just a few decades ago.
One example of the impact information technology has had on business processes is in the area of supply chain management. Supply chain management deals with the whole supply chain of goods entering and leaving the factory where they are purchased and then delivered to end users. This is a complex process that involves a number of different business functions such as inventory, order tracking, order processing, logistics and much more. By taking the whole supply chain into account, it has enabled organizations to streamline their operations and make sure that all elements of the business processes to function smoothly. It has also reduced the risk associated with business decisions made today.
Information technology is still relatively new and there is a lot to learn and get used to when it comes to implementing information systems in business processes. However, the advances we have seen in the last decade are amazing and it is not likely that we will see any further improvements in the next few years. Organizations need to embrace information technology and use it to its maximum potential. However, there is also a very negative view of IT today which is probably fuelled by some sensational media stories that tend to over-sensationalize things. People involved in every aspect of the organization need to be properly educated and know how important information systems are to the success of the organization.