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Every organization does collect and distribute information. This information plays a key role in ensuring sustainable development of the business. Consultations aimed at improving capacities for business organizations will help the decision makers, the public and professional to access and use the information which will be essential for achieving sustainable organizational business growth. It will also help the business to understand the role of information, opportunities to meet the organizational and its business needs. This paper will examine the importance of information to a business; explain the available opportunities and the application of technology to meet organizational information and business needs. We will also examine the implications of information systems and how they affect people and the whole business management while examining its problems and its solutions.

Information can be said to be an ordered sequence of symbols, which are meant to reach to target group for effective communication. Managing any information and knowledge is quiet important. An organization that is good in its information and knowledge management will most definitely be successful especially in this digital age. It will be of an advantage for that kind of business to adapt to the technology that will aid in its information and knowledge management so that the business will be able to effectively compete with its competitors and ensure that they are not behind their competitors. Information technology is virtually found in every part of the business, tools for managing information and knowledge in the business will be of importance to run the business with ease. An example of an important aspect in any business is business intelligence; business intelligence is created from an already existing data in the business. This means that the organization must know how to use the existing data in the business to properly organize its information, remove any redundant data and store the information for its purpose.


The data is then analyzed to get valuable business intelligence, this will help to get valuable reports on the financial performance of the business, plan for its future, and have a forecast for the business. These technological advances that have been achieved in the last few decades have brought a new kind of revolution in the business world, affecting nearly all kinds of businesses. Information can be transferred in a matter of seconds anywhere in the world. Employees no longer need to be physically present with their clients or fellow workmates but can effectively work from anywhere. These new technologies are able to improving every aspect of business, for any company to be afloat nowadays, and then they need to keep pace with increased speed and complexity of information technology in business.

An effective approach towards achieving the necessary collection of information and decision rights will depend on the costs of information transmission and processing of such information or the organizational redesign of solution of moving the decision rights. Through these information resources, there's a midst of transformation of the organizational work. Many industries which used to have mass production of vertically integrated hierarchically organized firms are now giving way to more flexible forms of internal organization and industrial structure. Work is now being accomplished by smaller and more focused enterprises. A point in case is in the computer industry, the industry was dominated by large and vertically integrated firms like IBM which created products and services throughout the value chain, but now this is replaced by a series of layers which is a separate industry.

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Changing role of information technology

Most organizations are now recognizing that information is a key resource of the organization. In fact information can be comparable to capital or human resources in the organization. Some experts argue that just as labor was crucial in the agricultural age, and as capital was critical in the industrial age, information is also crucial in the post indusrial age. It is believed that the ways in which an organization is able to manage its information will increasingly determine its survival and its growth in the future.

There are dimensions on which the role of information technology is changing in an organization. Information technology is shifting from the perceived support administrative function to the mainstream and strategic function. Unlike other support functions like training, personnel or travel, information technology is considered more important in the income generation of revenues. This is so true especially in those organizations where just in time operations are highly critical like in the banking industry, retailing and emergency service sectors. This can be well illustrated by a survey of companies; it revealed that the top 10 companies in diverse industries were those that had put high technology to work. These companies the survey revealed that they had elevated the role of information technology from administrative support function to a strategic operations integrated function.

An example of businesses where information technology has seen an organization out do its competitor(s) can be illustrated by that of Citicorp and American Express. Citicorp out did American express in the use of information technology, whereby Citicorp spends $900 million annually on computer hardware, software and research and development, this was nearly twice its nearest competitor, the Bank of America. Wal-Mart stores did computerize their inventory control systems electronically; orders merchandise from suppliers and maintain order in their warehouses and its distribution from the stores receiving dock to the shelves. The retailer is now using Wal-Mart Satellite Network (WSN) which is a multimillion project to join its 1,200 stores in a satellite communication network. This has resulted to information technology receiving top management attention some who have seen the importance have led the way for making the use of information technology, like in General Motors, Rodger Smith's interest in use in the use of computers and communication as a strategy resource led to the acquisition of Hughes and EDS.

There are several reasons why information technology is becoming a strategic resource in the business organization. The forces that that have elevated the importance of information technology include; intense competition - this has forced organizations to become more efficient and more effective, globalization of business - most organizations are becoming more and more global, this means that their procurement, manufacturing and market operations will require greater use of information technology for effective reduction of time and space barriers. Other reasons include organizational changes, business organizations undergo constant reorganizations, frequent mergers and acquisitions, and the management should recognize the need for flexibility through compatible information technology. Lastly it is due to the technology revolution which is now more affordable and useful to the organization thanks to the performance price of a new generation of information technology.

The strategic significance of the information technology cannot be underestimated. The technology has transformed companies and their products and even the competition between the different companies. Therefore every company needs to understand the effects and implications of the new technology and how to use this information to create substantial and sustainable competitive advantages. Technology affects competition in different ways; it alters industry structures, supports cost and differentiation strategies and also spawns new businesses.  

Information technology can also alter the forces of competition and thus change the industry attractiveness as well as it increases the power of buyers, information technology that requires large investments have raised the barriers to entry e.g. banks that compete in cash management need advanced software to give their customers online account information and also the automaton order processing and customer billing has upped the rivalry in many distribution industries.

Through the information technology, companies have been able to lower costs. This is confined to those activities that repetitive information processing plays a bigger part. Example is that of canon, they built a low-cost copier assembly process around an automated parts-selection system. Information technology can also enhance the spawning of new businesses. New industries are being churned out; this is done by making new business technologies feasible, also by creating derived demand for new products e.g. Western Union's EasyLink service which allows personal computers and word processors to send information to each other all over the world. This shows that for managers to have their organizations respond to the challenges of the information revolution they should have a growing awareness on the revolution that is information technology and that also it is not the preserve of EDPs or IS departments.

Although information technology is an important part of running any business, it has got its drawbacks and they include; the training cost. Companies that are installing new technology have to bear the cost of installation as well as that of training workers to use the new technology. Another limitation is the upfront cost. New technologies will most definitely involve high upfront costs technology requires large initial investments before the technology can assist in the production. Another limitation is that technology causes unemployment. One or few workers can produce the same amount of work that can be produced by several people without technology. Thus it leads to layoffs and making some jobs redundant.

The use of information technologies is increasingly regarded as a strategic resource for any organization and thus gaining top management recognition. The top information managers are getting involved the strategic planning process of their organizations especially in the financial sector, airline and retailing industries. These managers are now called the CIO (Chief Information officer). The importance of information technology can be attributed to four forces; increased competition, globalization of the business industries, organizational changes and the fact that information technology has become more affordable improved their performance in the recent years.

Over time, information technology has evolved in their applications. From a cost control application focusing primarily in office automation, they are now being utilized for account control by linking of suppliers and customers. Recently they have evolved more to include corporate strategic planning and are likely to be used for managing alliances among many organizations.  Organizations are now using information technology to managing more complex relationships across many organizations.

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