Technology can be regarded as one of the major forces contributing to the evolvement of business. When it comes to computing, five major waves have been identified. The first four waves include the introduction of computers in the 1960s, the development of small computers in the 1970s, the creation of personal computers in the 1980s, and the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s. The fifth wave is associated with such concepts as creativity, openness, and accessibility as social media create the platform for potentially limitless information sharing (Andrews & Mickahail, 2015). As any wave of technology development, the fifth wave has brought a variety of opportunities for business. These opportunities include efficient marketing research, cost savings, effective interaction with customers, and so on.
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One of the most valuable benefits of this wave is related to the marketing research (Bail, 2017). It is not necessary to look for participants of studies, ask for opinions in the streets as the same job can be done without living the working place. Of course, conventional methods mentioned above are also employed, but social media provide the platform for effective data sharing. Customers can voice their desires, concerns, feedback easily. Moreover, managers can analyze customers’ opinions and preferences through the analysis of social media (Andrews & Mickahail, 2015). Marketing has acquired new features as customers promote products in social networks.
Creativity is becoming an indispensable feature of the contemporary businesses. Connectedness is another important characteristic feature of the new business world. It is not simply about people being connected to each other. Products, services, and different items can also be connected to each other as well as larger platforms. Thus, information systems can tie some internal information concerning a product with external data available through social networks. Thus, the level of sales can be tied to people’s opinions revealed via various social networks. Data analysis becomes more efficient.
It is necessary to note that social media are also associated with important improvements of business operations. For example, instant messengers help employees communicate effectively. Important information can be spread and viewed within seconds. Employees can easily provide their feedback immediately. Knowledge sharing has become one of the key components of effective operations. Such applications as Skype help employees communicate irrespective of distances. Multinationals benefit from such technologies as they save thousands of dollars that were wasted on travel expenses and scheduling in previous years.
Importantly, accessibility is one of the key benefits of the new wave. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and numerous other devices make it possible to remain connected in any place in the world. Numerous devices have been developed to make the supply chain operations more efficient. The use of barcodes and the corresponding devices helps companies track items at any stage of their flow. Placing orders is becoming easy and quick as well. Customers may use different devices and software to receive the services they need. The new wave provides numerous platforms for effective communication between the customer and the company.
People may work from home, which also helps companies save funds. Moreover, there is no need in buying sophisticated software to store information that is becoming quite overwhelming. Cloud computing enables users to store vast amounts of data online (Andrews & Mickahail, 2015). Any individual having access to a database can access the necessary information from any part of the world. One of the major issues related to these systems is data security and confidentiality. However, it is necessary to note that these issues also arise when the hardware is used.
Transparency and openness also contribute to the development of companies (Andrews & Mickahail, 2015). Customers are now eager to be in control of many processes. For instance, customers may want to be able to track their items instead of simply waiting for the delivery time. Again, accessibility makes people active users of numerous services. They can receive information using their smartphones or other devices. Companies can share information using social networks, which is far more effective than official websites or press releases. Customers appreciate transparency as they are eager to be sure that companies act in a responsible and sustainable way. At that, transparency and openness are reasonable as data can remain confidential and secure due to the use of sophisticated software.
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On balance, it is possible to state that the fifth wave of the development of technology is associated with the use social networks and cloud computing systems. These tools help companies save funds, improve their business operations, implement research, communicate with customers, create a positive image, and so on. Distances become quite irrelevant as information sharing is becoming a continuous process.
People are able to access the necessary information from their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and personal computers. There are still certain issues associated with the use of technology. One of the primary problems is related to security and confidentiality. At that, many of these issues are being addressed effectively. Therefore, the benefits of the fifth wave of technology development can hardly be overestimated.
Andrews, K., & Mickahail, B. (2015). Business and social media: Collaboration for the sixth discipline. In J. P. Sahlin (Eds.), Social media and the transformation of interaction in society (pp. 158-173). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Bail, C. A. (2017). Taming big data: Using app technology to study organizational behaviour on social media. Sociological Methods & Research, 46(2), 8-11. Web.