How to Use Information Technology in Business
I’m sure you’ve all heard of this topic – IT or Information Technology in Business. Yes, it’s a technology driven world out there. Given technology changes due to such things as Sarbanes Oxley, you will eventually have to align your business processes with your technology. Perhaps you are waiting because technology is expensive. Well, the amazing thing is that it’s getting cheaper all the time. A lot cheaper.
If you’ve got kids then you are probably aware of video game technology like the Xbox. But have you ever stopped to look at what’s under the hood of one of those boxes? In November 2013 the Xbox One was released. I mean we are talking about a powerful gaming console. It uses the latest eight-core 1.75 GHz cell AMD custom 64-bit processor with full wireless, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, and Blu-Ray/DVD high-definition video. The Xbox One was built to communicate with servers in the cloud to increase the computational potential of the system.
The latest Xbox X (coming out late-2020) has the latest technology delivering 4K graphics at 60FPS, with up to 120FPS,with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. It is powered by a custom-designed processor using the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from AMD. The console is estimated to be four times as powerful as Xbox One and will retail for about the same prices ($499). It will have a 2.3 GHz semi-custom AMD x86-64 eight-core CPU code named “Jaguar Enhanced” with 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM @ 6.8 GHz 326 GB/s.
The technical specifications surpass most desktop PCs. A brand new, $500 computer can’t hope to keep up with the new Xbox running at 12 teraflops (Floating Point Operations Per Second). So while you work all day on an average computer, your kids will be playing – that’s right, playing – with a super super computer that will retail for around $499.
Now this article is not about computing performance and flops is not the whole story. Besides, unlike a desktop PC, the Xbox X is tuned for ultra high-definition video gaming. But still, what is your business doing with the super computing power on your desktop?
You may have to think outside the box for the answer to that one. And that’s one of the things your IT organizational leadership should be looking at in developing your strategy. Are you taking advantage of the super power or are you still using the computer as an electronic typewriter? Just how is Information Technology changing your business? Or better yet, how are you changing your business to utilize the latest Information Technology like the Internet, cloud computing, SaaS, or super computing?
Information Technology in Business
You see, it is not just about Information Technology in business. It’s about the quality of the business processes and their associated information interactions that are delivered over the technology that is really important, not the technology infrastructure itself.
What we should really be talking about is Information Deployment — how you create, capture, deliver, use and measure your business information. Information Deployment is the strategic differentiator that your business processes require. Information Technology in business is now a commodity. But your business processes are your business.
Information Deployment is the quality of the business processes and their associated information interactions that are delivered over the technology. We are talking about how you create, capture, deliver, use and measure your business information. Information Deployment is the strategic differentiator that your business processes require. Information Technology is now a commodity. But your business processes are your business.
The quality of your business processes and their associated information interactions that are delivered over the technology is really the focus in today’s IT departments, and is a big part of information deployment. Data processing has given way to business process processing. We no longer just move data, we now enable business processes.
Historically, we used manual systems to run a business like paper based orders (purchasing, sales, and production). Then technology was introduced to automate the paper shuffling. Productivity increased, jobs descriptions changed, and the new technology was accepted.
But now that all the numbers are in a computer system, more people want access to those numbers, People want new reports describing new relationships and the IT department has responded by developing more applications for more users. Instead of being proactive the IT department is reacting to demands.
Organizations focusing on meeting users needs with just applications development are missing the boat. Sure you have to develop applications for HR, Accounting, Production, Sales and Marketing. But if all you’re doing is developing applications then you are limiting the real strategic value of the IT department. What is needed now is a way to rise above just reacting to users. The IT department needs a new model based on being proactive to users needs.
Applications development has always been about getting the right data in front of the right user using the right interface. Only now are we are finding that, in our ever-increasing complex world, how you create, capture, deliver, use, and measure your business information is even more critical than ever.
The Internet is a perfect example of how things are changing in the IT department. Users are now entering their own orders online, tracking their shipping and reviewing their account. Paper is being eliminated and as we use principles of Lean Thinking, we find new inefficiencies in our old methods. The Internet is forcing organizations to rethink about information deployment, specifically how Information Technology is used.
The Internet is forcing us to examine our core processes to understand the customers of those processes and determine how to best use the information that is available. Only this way can you get ahead of users demands. The more proactive you become, the less reactive you will be to demands for application changes.
IT as a Strategic Differentiator
In response, the IT department is now being asked to improve business processes. This is a strategic shift to taking on new responsibilities for Business Process Management. The new question is how do you build effective management systems and Manage Business Processes?
Information deployment can be a valuable strategic differentiator. Information Technology is now a commodity. But your business processes are your business. Those with the organizational leadership in place to take advantage of this new shift will beat out those who do not.