What is information technology? How can information technology be used in an organization to improve its efficiency? How much investment should an organization make in information technology? What are the business benefits and opportunities an organization may achieve from using information technology? These are some of the most important questions many organizations ask themselves before investing their capitals in information technology.
In an academic term, information technology is defined as hardware, software, telecommunications, database management, and other information processing technologies used in computer-based information systems. There are many ways that organizations may view and use information technology. However, in today’s competitive business environment technology is no longer an afterthought in forming business strategy, but it is the actual cause and driver. In other words, for a firm to maintain or improve its business competitiveness it must use information technology to achieve strategic advantage.
Information technology can help a company substantially reduce the cost of business processes and lower the costs of customers or suppliers.
Information technology can help a company differentiate its products and services from others.
Using information technology, a firm can create new products and services or make radical changes to business processes.
A firm can use information technology to manage regional and global business expansion or to diversify and integrate into other products and services.
A firm can use information technology to create virtual organizations of business partners or to develop alliances with customers, suppliers, and other business partners.
Information technology can dramatically improve the efficiency of business processes and the quality of products and services.
Using information technology, a firm can build a strategic information base of all the information collected.
Some experts argue that use of information technology has become a strategic necessity rather than a strategic advantage, because most competitive advantages don’t last more than a few years. Whether the statement is true or not, most companies may not want to wait too long before investing in information technology because it would be tough to catch up later once you get behind your competitors, especially when everyone is playing with newer, better technology.
the quality of doing something well and effectively, without wasting time, money, or energy
the efficiency of the train service
considerable advancements in energy efficiency
the new employee’s diligence and efficiency impressed everyone
money or property, especially when it is used to start a business or to produce more wealth
The government is eager to attract foreign capital.
any merchant needs capital
wealth, esp. money used to produce more wealth or for starting a business: You need a lot of capital to start up a new newspaper. | The company was started with a capital of $20,000. | a successful company that offers investors a high return on capital | They have a working capital (=money that can be used in the course of business activity) of $15,000. | What we need now is a big injection of capital.
something that you mention or add later because you did not think of it or plan it before
He added as an afterthought, ‘Bring Melanie too’.
it occurred to me as an afterthought that he owed me money, too
something added later, esp. something that was not part of the original plan:
The balcony was an afterthought, added on to the building several years later.
the ability of a company, country, or a product to compete with others
New machinery has enhanced the company’s productivity and competitiveness.
Europe’s competitiveness in international markets.
very much or a lot
substantially higher prices
The deer population has increased substantially in recent years.
Your contribution helped us substantially.
to be the quality, feature etc that makes one thing or person clearly different from another
What differentiates these two periods of history?
differentiate something from something
Its unusual nesting habits differentiate this bird from others.
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told reporters, Mesbah 1 has unique features that differentiate it from other similar air defense systems.
when something increases in size, range, amount etc
ￚsee also expand
The rapid expansion of cities can cause social and economic problems.
an expansion in student numbers
if a business, company, country etc diversifies, it increases the range of goods or services it produces
diversify (away) from
farmers forced to diversify away from their core business
The company is planning to diversify into other mining activities.
we must diversify our products in order to attract more customers
Our factory is trying to diversify (its range of products). (=to make a large number of different products) | a publishing company that is now diversifying into the software market
great and sudden
Computers have brought dramatic changes to the workplace.
dramatic increase/rise/fall/drop/reduction etc
Universities have suffered a dramatic drop in student numbers.
A serious accident can have a dramatic effect on your family’s finances.
to state, giving clear reasons, that something is true, should be done etc
Croft argued that a date should be set for the withdrawal of troops.
It could be argued that a dam might actually increase the risk of
argue for/against (doing) something
Baker argued against cutting the military budget.
She argued the case for changing the law.
The researchers put forward a well-argued case for banning the drug.
They argued the point (=discussed it) for hours without reaching a
useful or right for a particular purpose
Marksmen were placed at strategic points along the president’s route.
the condition of being necessary or unavoidable; need:
Is there any necessity for another election? | We won’t buy a car until the necessity arises. (=until we really need one) | We’re faced with the necessity of buying (=we have to buy) a new car. [+to-v] There is no necessity to buy tickets in advance. | I walked home of/by necessity, because there was no bus.
when something is necessary
He emphasized the necessity for good planning and management.
the necessity of (doing) something
This illustrates the necessity of keeping accurate records of your work.
Many teachers are now questioning the necessity of formal exams.
through/out of necessity
He only remained with the group out of necessity.
economic/practical/political etc necessity
I’m afraid it’s become a matter of economic necessity .
something that may help one to be successful or to gain a favorable result:
Her teaching experience gave her a big advantage (over the other applicants for the job).
catch up (phrasal verb)
to come up from behind and reach the same point or level as:
You go ahead and I’ll catch up with you later. | At the moment our technology is more advanced than theirs, but they are catching up (with us) fast.
to improve and reach the same standard as other people in your class, group etc
If you miss a lot of classes, it’s very difficult to catch up.
catch up with
At the moment our technology is more advanced, but other countries are catching up with us.
he was behind the class in English, but he soon caught up
a person, team, company etc that is competing with another
Last year they sold twice as many computers as their competitors. major/main competitors
The company’s four major competitors have nothing to rival the new product.