How technology has impacted the way we conduct business – Part 1

Technology has drastically changed the way we live. The primary reason for the changing and invention of technology was to make our lives easier, but instead the opposite has happened, technology has made our lives more hectic as it allows us to take on more tasks and more work at once, leading to busier more hectic lives. But how has technology changed the way we conduct business. In this series of blogs I will examine how technology has impacted and changed the way the world conducts business.

The technologies I have chosen to examine are The Internet, Satellite Communications, Microprocessors, they also include future technologies and how these could potential transform our lives these are The Internet of Things and 3D Printing technology.

Over 50 years ago the United States government attempted to make a secure method of communication which would use a network of computers to send information to each other known as packet switching, this work was then combined with work from the British and French governments which later became known as the internet. Fast forward to 1989 and Sir Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web which allows people to access information online from almost any point on the globe, using three technologies that are still the foundation of the web today, these are as follows.

  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The publishing format for the Web, including the ability to format documents and link to other documents and resources.
  • URI: Uniform Resource Identifier. A kind of “address” that is unique to each resource on the Web.
  • HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the Web.

Fast forward 26 years to the present day. According to Google there are an estimated 46 billion webpages, from simple images to complex online games.  The Internet laid the foundation for the World Wide Web and the World Wide Web laid the foundation for E commerce. E commerce is any transactions conducted electronically through the Internet. Business to Customer, E Commerce spending according to (emarketer 2014) will reach almost $1.8 trillion this year with Britain being the third largest market in the world. E Commerce has transformed customer buying habits, they no longer need to shop in their local high-street, as they can compare prices and buy the cheapest products from a shop which may be located 300 miles away with the goods originating from a supplier in China.  Customers no longer need to leave the comfort of their own home to buy their weekly shopping; instead they have it delivered directly. The World Wide Web has allowed all companies big and small to market themselves on a level playing field,from as little at £1800 you can buy a professional looking website, if you then add a limited Pay Per click advertising campaign showing your website on the first page of Google, this allows you to directly with large multinational multi million pound businesses.

The World Wide Web has also allowed companies to communicate with customers in a way never seen before. Companies can send customers emails with tailored offers, or news updates to try and promote sales. Companies also use the web to gather market research through emailing questionnaires, talking to customers through social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to discover what the customer likes about the company, such as its product or services and what they also dislike. This information then allows companies to tailor their products or services as well as the company itself in order to meet the wants and needs of customers, which in turn makes the company more appealing to potential consumers. Businesses can also easily research competitors and examine their activity, the deals they offer as well as prices and location, allowing companies to change and adapt to competitors threats.

One of the biggest benefits the web has brought to businesses is the ability to hire and outsource.  The web has enabled businesses to search for the highest caliber of staff in a much easier and time saving manner than previous methods.  The Web has allowed businesses to hire employees from remote locations coupled with mass transportation allowing employees to travel back and forth to work. The web also allows employees to work from home thereby eliminating travel time and costs which may potentially encourage employees to work longer and harder, increasing productivity.

To summarise, the web has not just made shopping more convenient for the customer, it has also allowed consumers to communicate with companies by posting positive or negative testimonials. This allows companies that listen to improve upon their services or products, meeting the wants and needs of consumers more effectively than competitors and thus gain the advantage over the competition.  Companies have benefited through increased exposure on a global level allowing all companies big and small to reach out to consumers, the web has also allowed tasks to be allocated to external companies as the web has made communication much faster, cheaper and more effective.  The web has ultimately helped both big and small businesses reach a wider audience and presented customers with a greater number of opportunities, only time will tell how else the internet and the web will transform businesses over the coming years.