Information is the key ingredient for successful economic development and business growth. This is predicated on the fact that knowledge is seen as a highly valued commodity in contemporary economies. Knowledge can easily be turned into valuable services and products if it is accessed by the correct people. This is to say that value creation can occur very easily if good, correct information is given to those who have the ability and means to turn that information into tangible commodities that have a market.
In addition to this, information can give a commercial entity a competitive edge in a vast variety of circumstances. In negotiations, for example, information is of fundamental importance in deciding appropriate strategy – as has been proven by game theory in economics: if, for example, you have more information than your opponent, you have an edge which you can leverage to your advantage. In negotiating processes which result in company mergers, etc., this advantage could result in substantial monetary gains. To put this another way, information technology can, and is, used for very much more than educational toys.
In time sensitive situations, the speed at which information can be relayed and processed is of vital importance. The stock market is an arena where the timely communication of information could earn stockholders a fortune, and, conversely, an untimely delay could bankrupt those who could not react in time.
There can be no doubt that the correct management of information and the timely communication of information can result in considerable monetary gains or losses. Furthermore, in a competitive marketplace where other enterprises have information communication technologies superior to your own, the chances are that those better communicative systems will produce more efficient results, thus cutting down on overhead costs of the business.
Information Technology is the engineering discipline that employs computer technology to store, retrieve and communicate information. The main applications of IT include the acquisition of information, its consequent processing, the storing of that processed information for future use, and the communicating of the aforementioned data to the relevant parties that use the information for research or commercial purposes. The types of data involved in the above processes are usually numerical, textual, pictorial, audio or audio-visual data. These data are dealt with by microelectronics based systems of computing and telecommunicating.
The term, “Information Technology”, was first used in its current context in an article published in the Harvard Business Review in 1958. At this stage, the type of technology that the authors were referring to can only be seen as distant precursors to the technology that is in use today. In addition to this, the capabilities of contemporary computers and communications devices could hardly have been anticipated by science fiction authors, never mind serious, realist-orientated journalists.
Today, IT encompasses the realms of web technologies, bioinformatics, cloud computing, global information systems, and large scale knowledge basis: most of these phenomena rely on advances made in the computer science environment for their own emergence and development. IT specialists are tasked with gaining a thorough knowledge of current technologies and practices developed by computer scientists. They then use this knowledge and apply it to data processing and communications systems in order to facilitate the goal of making these types of systems quicker, more reliable, and able to handle ever increasing amounts of traffic.