Hi, need to submit a 500 words paper on the topic IT in Businesses. Week Six. IT in Businesses IT in Businesses The definition of Information Technology (IT) encompasses the study, design, implementation, development, support and management of computer based information systems (Abrar & Mohammed, 2011). It majors in computer software applications and hardware. This paper will discuss the IT evolution and the impact it has had on businesses.

The evolution of IT can be broken down into five stages. These are the Mainframe and Minicomputers, Personal Computers (PC), client-server networks, enterprise computing and the current wireless networks (Laudon & Laudon, 2010). It began with the Harvard Mark I electromechanical calculator in World War Two weighing five tons and 50 feet long. It was then replaced by the 30 ton Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, having 18,000 vacuum tubes and occupying a large space. The invention of the transistor in 1947 gave way for the development of smaller, powerful and more resourceful computers. Input-output tools changed to magnetic tape from punch cards, and new computer languages were developed to interact with the new technology (Laudon & Laudon, 2010).

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The second stage started in the 1970s when processors on chips and magnetic discs were built. They decentralized computing power from bulky data centers to smaller offices. Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak sold Apple II machines and Bill Gates founded Microsoft. IBM launched the Personal Computer in 1981 (O’Brien, 1999).

The third stage involved embedding microprocessors in electronic products. As the complexity of technology grew and the costs reduced, the need for information sharing within enterprises also increased, giving rise to client/server era in which networked computers could access shared information on a server (O’Brien, 1999).

The fourth stage of IT evolution originated from the US Department of Defense. It enabled high speed networks and coupled portions of the business enterprise together giving information access encircling the entire management structure. Universities linked up to this system and used it to deliver messages. The US National Science Foundation and several universities set up their own networks, leading to the onset of the popular World Wide Web and broadband (Laudon & Laudon, 2010).

The fifth, which is the latest stage, is the wireless one and includes cloud computing. It incorporates the use of cell phones and wifi networks. It gives rise to high levels of mobility independent of location, configuration and nature of the hardware. This phase began with the invention of the mobile phone. It uses high frequency short range transmitters like infra red and blue tooth communication within buildings to make wireless communication a worldwide trend (Laudon & Laudon, 2010).

IT systems have improved the aspect of customer relations in business. Business organizations utilize hardware and software to gather, store, manage and process data and to share out information. They also use networks for users to communicate and share both files and hardware resources with each other (O’Brien, 1999). Technology gives a platform for companies to communicate and establish relations with their clients. In the ever changing and quick paced business environment, timely responses to clients’ enquiries are an imperative means to gain and maintain their loyalty. This is easily achievable by use of emails, online social networks and the internet (Afuah & Tucci, 2001). Social networks are a force to reckon with in advertising. Business operations are also cheaper, faster and more secure and accurate. Business people can view and manage inventory, cash flow, billing, sales, or payrolls in a single computer application, while at the same time protecting their confidential financial data, decision making and business information (Abrar & Mohammed, 2011). Telecommuting has also cut down on travel, space and accommodation costs. With video conferencing and broadband access technology, employees can attend meetings from home on computers and smart phones, without having to travel personally to a meeting site (Afuah & Tucci, 2001). The use of business software programs has enabled automation of traditional manufacturing processes. This marks reduced labor costs and augments manufacturing efficiency and increases production output.

In conclusion, as IT has evolved over the years, becoming more sophisticated, affordable and even customizable to unique business ventures, it has improved business performances. This is reflected in cost savings, quicker information processing and sharing, cutting down travel needs and making confidential data secure.

References

Abrar, H., & Mohammed, S. S. (2011). Performance evaluation of information technologies for asset management maturity: A Research Agenda. AMCIS 2011 Proceedings- All Submissions, Paper 457. Retrieved from http://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2011_submissions/457

Afuah, A., & Tucci, C. (2001). Internet business models and strategies. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Laudon, K. & Laudon, J. (2010). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm (11th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

O’Brien, J (1999). Management information systems- Managing information technology in the internetworked enterprise. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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