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Technology And The Global Business Environment
Principles of Business
Topic Ten

Information communication technology (ICT)

Business technology refers to applications of science, data, engineering, and information for business purposes, such as the achievement of economic and organisational goals.  ICT is generally accepted to mean all devices, networking components, applications and systems that combined allow people and organizations including businesses to interact in the digital world.  The list of ICT components is exhaustive, and it continues to grow. Some components, such as computers and telephones, have existed for decades. Others, such as smartphones and digital televisions are more recent entries.  ICT is considered to be all uses of digital technology that exist to help individuals, businesses and organisations use information

The Role of Information Communication Technology in Business

The main way in which technology has influenced banking and commerce is through the introduction of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) which facilitate the deposit and withdrawal of funds, as well as other services without having to go into a bank to access teller services. The location of ATM machines in hotels, petrol stations, malls and supermarkets adds to the convenience of customers

Another way in which ICT has influenced business is through the practice of on-line banking which enables customers to access their accounts from home and other locations using personal computers. This facility enables customers to check their balances from the comfort of their homes and permits easy and convenient payment of utility and other bills. Customers with more than one account can also use this facility to transfer funds from one account to another.  

Distinction between E-commerce and E-business

E-commerce is any transaction completed over a computer-mediated network that involves the transfer of ownership or rights to use goods and services.  E-business is broader than e-commerce and include the transaction based e-commerce businesses and those who run traditionally but cater to online activities as well. An e-business can run any portion of its internal processes online, including inventory management, risk management, finance, human resources. For a business to be e-commerce and e-business, it must both sell products online.

Ways in which ICT can be used to Improve Efficiency of Business Operations

The emergence of the electronic media and information communication technology has really impacted on business positively in many ways some of which are as follows:

Speed and time – Capital intensive production is much more productive than labour intensive production.  ICT allows products and services to me delivered in a much shorter period of time.

Easier storage – information communication technology can improve the efficiency of businesses where it can foster organized storage of information through sophisticated databases. 

Improved sharing of information – improved sharing of information will automatically follow from the application of ICT. 

Automation – the advancement in information communication technology has led to spiral advancement in other automated systems.  These mechanisms have resulted in the automation of most businesses where efficiency and cost-savings have been realized. 

Benefits of Information Communication Technology

Some of these benefits are as follows:

Reaching customers – the application and use of ICT will facilitate for reaching more customers than with any manual system. 

Streamline operations – the application of ICT can result in the streamlining of the operations of the business.  There will be better planning, controlling and coordinating of the business operations. 

Improvement in customer service – the application of ICT will require feedback from customers through toll free telephone systems.  This will result in the improvement in the products that are made based on the needs and preferences of customers.  This involvement of customers means a better customer service. 

Determinants of Standard of Living and Quality of Life

The standard of living of people in any country is not just to enjoy just the necessities of life but also high consumption of good and services outside of the bare necessities.  A standard of living is the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or a certain geographic area. The standard of living includes factors such as income, gross domestic product, national economic growth, economic and political stability, political and religious freedom, environmental quality, climate, and safety. The standard of living is closely related to quality of life.

Determinants of Standard of Living

An evaluation of standard of living commonly includes the following factors: income; quality and availability of employment; quality and affordability of housing; hours of work required to purchase necessities; gross domestic product (GDP); inflation rate; affordable access to quality health care; quality and availability of education; life expectancy; infrastructure; national economic growth; economic and political stability and safety.

Difference between Standard of Living and Quality of Life

Quality of life is more subjective and intangible than standard of living. The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides a ist of factors that can be considered in evaluating quality of life. It includes many things that citizens of the developed countries take for granted, but that are not available in a significant number of countries around the world. Factors that may be used to measure quality of life include the following: freedom from slavery and torture; equal protection of the law; freedom from discrimination; freedom of movement; freedom of residence within one's home country; presumption of innocence unless proved guilty; right to be treated equally without regard to gender, race, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, socioeconomic status and more; right to privacy; freedom of religion; right to fair pay; equal pay for equal work; right to vote; right to rest and leisure; right to education and right to human dignity.