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Information Technology: The Driving Force Behind the Growth of an Economy

Updated on November 4, 2015
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“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.” - Steve Ballmer.

The above-mentioned quote says, Information Technology (IT) is all about potential. To a large extent, most of us will agree to this statement. Information technology has always been indispensable for the promotion of development. Especially for developing countries, the information technology is playing the most critical role by bridging the economic and prosperity gaps between them and the developed countries.

Information Technology as per 'Information Technology Association of America' (ITAA), is “the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.” In simple terms, IT basically deals with computers and software to store, communicate, convert, protect, process and securely retrieve any data or information.

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Information Technology in business

Today, computers and information systems have become an essential part of every business. To maintain its identity and remain in the competition, nearly every business these days needs to invest in technology. Businesses are getting benefited using technology in several ways, such as:

  • Reaching more potential customers

  • Developing a business relationship with potential customers

  • Reduced costs and improved efficiency

  • Providing better services to customers, etc.

Those businesses that are at the low end of technology spending for their industry may miss out on various fruitful benefits that technology can provide. Further, the technology budget for any business can be categorized into various parts such as:

  • Initial cost: The initial cost generally includes the cost of installing hardware and software. It also includes the cost for training the employees regarding the use of technology.

  • Ongoing cost: It usually comprises maintenance cost. Other things included in the ongoing cost are the licenses for proprietary software, hosting, and support.

  • Upgrade cost: Cost of upgrading software and systems comes under upgrade cost.

  • Value proposition: It is basically used to identify the time that an employee can save while working on a particular system. Moreover, it can also be used to determine how much new business could the system generate.

  • Opportunity cost: Opportunity cost is the cost of potential revenue that is lost due to not implementing a system.

  • Risk: It is generally the cost of mitigating the risks associated with a particular system.

Although, implementing technology is vital for businesses, it is necessary to implement enough technology (not too much or very little) to enjoy its real benefit. By investing in a proper manner, the chances for not missing out on any major opportunities for businesses also increases.

Speedily emerging fields of Information Technology

There is no doubt that information technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Numerous innovations and advances have taken place in the present day information technology era. Some of the modern and rapidly emerging fields in information technology include:

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Cloud computing

Nowadays, cloud computing is one of the most talked about concept in the information technology. Cloud computing is basically about utilizing computing services rather than using personal devices or local servers to handle applications. It mainly uses software and hardware as a service over a network, which is generally the Internet. Furthermore, by using cloud computing, businesses get benefited by reduced IT infrastructure cost, utilization of server and storage device across the organization and easier software and hardware maintenance cost. Additionally, there are mainly 3 kinds of services offered in cloud computing, which are:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Typically, it provides access to computing resource in a visualized environment. A large number of enterprises have started to utilize this form of cloud hosting to create cost effective and easily measurable IT solutions. Under this type of service, the complexities and cost of managing the underlying hardware are outsourced to the cloud provider.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Platform as a Service generally provides a platform where developers can build applications and services over the Internet. This service includes various features such as operating system, server software, database management system, storage, network access, hosting and many others that customers can choose based on their requirements.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): These days, SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model. Several businesses are adopting this model to manage their business. It is basically a service distribution model in which applications are hosted by the service provider and made available to customers over a network. SaaS applications are also known as on-demand software, web-based software or hosted software.

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Mobile application

Since its emergence, the mobile application has gained a lot of popularity. Mobile applications are typically designed to run on mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets. The major mobile software distribution platforms are:

  • Google Play for Android

  • App Store for iOS

Other distribution platforms include Amazon Appstore, Ovi (Nokia) for Nokia, BlackBerry World, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, Electronic AppWrapper, Samsung Apps, etc.

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User interfaces

The User interface is basically an interaction between humans and machines. For instance, the introduction of touch screen capability has totally revolutionized the way end users interact with an application. The use of touch screen capability utilized in smartphones, tablets, and various other information appliances has enhanced the overall experience of users. Additionally, the user interface includes the overall user experience, which include the appearance of the device, content presented to the user and the response time.

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Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is basically an interdisciplinary area of science, where methods and software tools are developed for the purpose of analyzing and interpreting the biological data. It is generally used to analyze and determine the relationship between biological data sets.

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Global information systems

A global information system or GIS is an information system that is developed or used in a global context. Many a times, global information systems also known as the network of networks. It provides an easy access to the electronically stored or transmitted information from anywhere in the world.

So, these were some of the fastest growing areas in the information technology field that have completely changed the way companies used to serve their customers. With great advancements and changes in the information technology sector over the last decade, companies can now serve their customers in a much better way.

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The World’s Most Tech-Ready Nations 2015

As per the reports published by INSEAD in partnership with the World Economic Forum and Johnson Cornell University, Singapore is this year’s leader of the global ICT (Information and communications technology) revolution and has topped this year's Global Information Technology Report (GITR). Since 2001, The Global Information Technology Report series published by the World Economic Forum in partnership with INSEAD and Cornell University are using the Networked Readiness Index for measuring the drivers of the ICT revolution. Under these series, around 143 economies are being covered. According to this report, the top 10 countries in 2015 are amongst the Western European economies and Asian advanced economies. Following Singapore, the countries in the top 10 list include Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United States, Luxembourg and Japan.

The information technology has transformed the world into a common platform by constricting the geographical and cultural boundaries. It has become one of the major resources for the development of a nation. A large number of IT jobs are present in the global market for the candidates with right skills and knowledge. However, to grow and develop in this field, it is vital to have an insight into the ongoing developments and innovations, enhancements, the evolution of technology and practices in the field of Information Technology.


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