When we look at the effect of technology on business, we are really examining how the Internet has changed business practices. The web has made our world smaller. All markets are global and all strategies have an international flair. Customer service can be outsourced down the street or to another country. Internet technology has created new and varied procedures and business models, which continue to change every day.
In 1992, the cost of a video phone was around $1,500. Each device only had a small, black and white screen with poor image quality and needed a dedicated line. Now, your average $600 laptop comes with a high definition camera, which allows you to have virtual face-to-face meetings anywhere with an Internet connection. Furthermore, systems like Skype and Google Hangouts have replaced the old video chats free of cost.
Add cloud technology to the mix, where documents can be shared, teams can be built and collaboration can occur anywhere in the world. For example, Cloud contact centers help businesses perform multi-channel inbound and outbound contact capabilities. They include multi-session chats as well as reporting and recording capabilities for live interactions.
The look of accounting has changed because of Internet and software technology. The days of giant ledger books and adding machines are gone. Now, we have software packages that allow anyone with the smallest amount of business acumen to do a passable job at accounting. Just looking at the Intuit products, a small to medium sized business owner can do payroll, human resources and accounting while sitting at a coffee shop. All of the information can be stored locally or remotely on a private cloud server, which gives the owner improved accessibility to the financials as well as increased accountability for the fiscal workings of the organization.
Relationship marketing is a branding and sales technique that focuses on the relationship with the consumer above the final transaction. The theory is that a loyal customer will buy from you. Social media marketing has embraced this idea to its fullest. The advent of social media technology, with its extended application to mobile devices, has taken word-of-mouth and put it on steroids. Social media, video chats and texting have allowed businesses to create a personal face where consumers and organizations can share experiences and create intimate relationships.
There was a time when it took money to make money. Investments only happened through banks or rich investors willing to put money into your dream. Now, we do not need to find one person with $5 million when we can get one million people to contribute $5. Crowdfunding has had some amazing success stories. Using new platforms like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, inventors and business people have been able to generate millions towards their projects. One of the most recent success stories of this new system of fundraising is LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow campaign that generated more than $1 million in under twenty-four hours.