Today's businesses rely more heavily on technology than ever before. From improved telecommunications to online payment options, most modern businesses could not function as effectively or efficiently without technology. Even the ability to accept credit or debit card payments at retail stores requires a complex system of bank exchanges and telecommunications in order to operate smoothly and reliably.
One of the main advantages of information technology is the ability for companies throughout many different industries to advertise their products and services via the Internet. Almost every website contains advertisements surrounding the site's primary content. Often these sites feature links from which , with a single click of their mouse, people can find information about the company whose ad they have clicked on. By making information so easily accessible, advertisers may benefit from a much larger volume of traffic to their own sites and thus greatly increase the chances of someone taking advantage of their goods or services. Companies are even able to communicate with or reach out to people all over the world, thereby increasing exposure to their ads without having to pay an exorbitant amount of additional advertising costs.
Online shopping, bill payments and funds transfers are also key examples of how businesses utilize information technology. By allowing consumers to access products and services from any computer, whether at work or at home, companies have made it easier than ever for people to move money. Shopping online has become so prominent that most major retailers have added online stores to accommodate shoppers. Consumers can buy virtually anything online from appliances to music. Funds transfers allow investors to track their investments or manage the accounts of their clients much more quickly. Most utility companies now offer online bill payment options which enable a customer to have their utility provider draw funds directly from a designated account. This virtually ensures that customers can avoid late payment fees, as the utility provider is collecting their payments automatically from clients' accounts. This eliminates the possibility of payments being mailed and subsequently arriving at the utility provided after the payments due date. As an added convenience, customers are also spared the expense of envelopes or postage.
One of the most powerful business tools that technology was provided is the ability to communicate worldwide almost without restrictions. E-mail and web cameras have greatly increased the efficiency of conference calls by allowing meetings to be conducted internationally. E-mails and fax machines allow documents to be transported instantly across an ocean. Wireless communications such as cellular phones enable business associates to communicate even while in transit. Companies with associates in several different states or countries may now send important updates or information without delay.
The development of laptop computers and cellular phones have allowed anyone to work from anywhere. As technology enables us to make powerful computers smaller, we become free to travel or even exercise while still monitoring our businesses. People now have much greater opportunities to work from home, allowing daycare costs to be eliminated. Travel, once a unfortunate but unavoidable interruption to the flow of work, now affords business professionals with an opportunity to catch up on aspects of their business while on an airplane or commuter train. Information can now be sent or received from practically anywhere and at remarkable speed.
Whereas once every company had to maintain enormous stockpiles of paper documents, technology has enables the modern business to minimize the amount of files they must warehouse. Compact discs and hard drives are capable of storing large amounts of data and occupy very little physical space. A stack of compact discs a few inches high can now easily replace rows of filing cabinets. Transferring data is also easier due to e-mail and thumb drives.