Either big or small business, they both need to use Information technology in a certain way to speed up production and save both time and money. Today Information technology has presented us with endless opportunities to maximize production and profits. In actual sense, Information technology makes the impossible possible and it makes things affordable at a less cost. Lets take a simple example, in the past, businesses had to use direct mail to reach their clients, but now days, all it takes is a well drafted email of which you only send once and all your customers will be informed about that new deal or product in stock. So that is how Information technology has replaced direct mail system. Below i have listed the use of Information technology in business and how it has impacted both small and big businesses:
1. Data Storage : With Information technology, business don’t have to spend money on papers and expensive means to keep data, now a small business can simply organize its data and keep track of all activities using a computer. Now businesses don’t have to have paper files to store data about each of their clients. All they do is create an internal database which records and keeps all this data. And the good thing is that this database can be updated when specific members of the business have access to that information at any time. Let us take another example: Now with free data hosting and file transfer services like Dropbox.com, you do not need to worry about losing any of your files. All you have to do is back up all your data on their cloud servers, and you can as well access this information remotely anytime.
2. Cheap Marketing: Information Technology has helped both small and big business reach targeted markets with fewer budgets. In the past, a business had to collect data about consumers through direct mail surveys, then they could know customers needs and they could promote their products to specific targeted markets using consumer guided marketing. Now, all this has been made simple. Business can now get data about their consumers and targeted groups by using internet cookies and web surveys. This has even become simple, because most big advertising networks like Social Networks ‘’Facebook.com’’ they provide this data to a business for free. All the business owner has to do is to select his target market and interest then ‘’facebook’’ will show them the number of people interested in the product. This helps the business owner and saves them money by targeting specific groups of people interested in their product.
3. Business to Consumer E–commerce: Now it is very easy for a business to sell their products or services to anyone in the world without setting any physical infrastructure in that location. The cost of setting up an electronic store is very low because now their services like Shopify.com , a small business owner with a limited budget, can use their remote software to create an online store in just a few minutes and they start selling their commodities . This saves a small business owner money, because they don’t need to hire a technical person to design the store for them , ‘’Shopify’’ provides them with every necessary tool to open up a store at a small cost.
Lets take another example: Companies like Etsy.com have created a platform where very small creative business people can create handmade products and open up a store on Etsy.com, then Etsy will promote their items on a commission basis agreement that when they sell your item, they get a certain percentage on that sale. This system has helped many work at home moms create virtual stores for their handmade products.
4. Simplified Communication: With Information technology, both small and big business can communicate to their employees, suppliers and customers easily. A business can use technologies like fax, email to request for supply from a manufacture. They can also use the same means to communicate with consumers about the latest products in store or items in on discount.
Another good example is video conferencing technology. With this technology, a business owner can hold a meeting with his employees even when his on another business trip, this saves him time and money.
Another example is Social Media: With the increased use of social media sites, many businesses have embraced this technology by engaging with their consumers directly in an entertainment manner. A business can open up a facebook page for free and they can use this page to interact with their consumers and fans. Now you can create a free facebook page and link it to your website or your offline adverts, this will help you drive fans to your facebook page. If you have some extra money, you can as well pay for ‘’Facebook Ads’’ an reach out to your fans. The only trick of keeping your Facebook fans active is by updating your business page on a regular basis with new offers and product suggestions.
5. Testing of products using ‘’BETA’’ versions: Now a business does not need to worry about launching a product or service which consumers will not take. Businesses have embraced the technique of going in a ‘’Beta’’ version where only invited members can try out a product before its official launch. During this process, the business will collect comments from its limited users to shape the product or service basing on what consumers need. This helps the business from investing too much money in a product or service people will not need.