What is Information Technology?
A technical definition of Information Technology is "the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise". This is a broad definition and does not help a small business decide what path to go down for its information technology systems or what to use to embark on a business transformation strategy.
A more helpful definition of information technology for small business may be “deployment of a fully integrated suite of software applications that enable a business to run its operations, financials, communications, marketing, customer service and e-commerce activities while simultaneously enhancing the customer experience and improving the implementer's decision making capabilities and efficiency”.
Large companies with access to significant human and financial resources have deployed fully integrated systems that accomplish these goals. They have spent millions to achieve this objective and taken the better part of a decade to do so. Because of the costs incurred and complexity involved, these accomplishments were the exclusive realm of large companies who, in successfully implementing, enhanced already significant competitive advantages over small to medium sized businesses.
In order to compete successfully in the 21st century business environment it's necessary to implement and deploy integrated information technology systems. This must be in the form of an integrated suite of software applications that simultaneously improves the customer experience as well as the decision making capability and efficiency of the implementer.
Fortunately, achieving this task is no longer outside the scope or realm of small to medium size businesses. World-class software solutions are available at modest cost and can be deployed and integrated in a matter of weeks as opposed to the years it has taken for large companies to implement SAP, Oracle and other large scale Enterprise systems. Furthermore, not only can the software available today be deployed quickly it can be accomplished in an architecture that permits ongoing flexibility not afforded the large competitors tied to their legacy systems.
The Path Forward
The key is not so much which individual software solutions are chosen - which may be strongly influenced by owner preferences and legacy systems. Instead, it's that a complete and integrated information technology platform is deployed. This goal can be achieved with different individual software components as long as they "speak" to each other when implemented. A large organization may deploy SAP as its enterprise system. A small organization may (for example) deploy:
- QuickBooks for financials
- PayPal for customer payments
- Hosted website using GoDaddy WebsiteBuilder
- HubSpot for blogging, social media & CRM
- Power Ecommerce for the shopping cart and catalog management
These five individual software applications (so long as they are integrated) will be more than a match for an unwieldy SAP or Oracle based enterprise system.
Take a look at our integrated information technology platforms infographic by clicking here!
For any business requiring a transformation then information technology is the foundation upon which it will be built.
Download our Information Technology Scorecard!