Importance of Computers in the Business World

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By: Site Engineer, Staff

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Computers and Business Communication

Communication is the process by which an individual, group or organization shares information with another for a defined purpose.

Communication is the life wire of every organization. It is the soul of business. In business management, communication makes possible important processes and functions such as planning, organizing, leading, supervising decision-making, delegating and motivating. It is also involved in budgeting, negotiations, representing and controlling.

Communication may be internal or external. Internal communication occurs within organization while external communication is between people within the organization and those outside.

Through the internet, the computer has made business communication in various forms possible. Internet is meant for communication both within and across national boundaries.

The internet is a world-wide communication matrix that provides users with access to electronic mail, news, training, instruction, maps, computer files, games and countless volume of information on virtually and subject. The internet even links customers to commercial websites where one can compare and buy products without leaving home.

The World Wide Web

World Wide Web (WWW) is part of the popular system setup within the internet specifically for publishing and accessing information. It is made up of websites which are linked to one another in a network. A website is made up of web pages which may contain texts of various sizes and formats, graphic designs and hyperlinks. A hyperlink enables a visitor to a website (a browser) to jump from one part of the web to another place either on the same web page or to another page or another website in another part of the world.

Individuals, groups, companies, researchers, associations or organizations can and do develop and maintain websites of their own. Available at such a website could be information about the company or organization (its history, owners, vision, mission, plans, structure, goods and services) which it wants to share with the rest of the world.

It thus offers even a small-scale business owner an opportunity to publicize and advertise itself and its products to the whole wide world.

Electronic Mail (e-mail)

E-mail is short for “electronic mail”. It is an electronic or paperless mail that is sent from one computer to another computer in any part of the world. To send an e-mail the potential sender types out the letter, message or document, using a word processor. It is dispatched at the click of a button. The mail so sent is received, in the recipient’s computer instantly. The addressee will receive it on switching on his or her computer and checking his/her e-mails. Although each mail is paid for, it is generally very cheap. To be able to send and receive e-mails both the sender and the receiver should have e-mail addresses and e-mail accounts with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Computer Conferencing

A computer conference is an ongoing discussion among a number of people over the computer. Each member makes a contribution electronically by sending messages to all other members. It is similar to teleconference.

Electronic Catalogs and Billboards

Internet and World Wide Web have made it possible for companies, individuals and other organizations to post bills and notices electronically on bulletin boards for browsers to read. Similarly, a company can prepare and display its catalog on the internet. Browsers can scroll through and obtain the required information from the catalog.

Entertainment

The computer has become a wonderful tool serving various domestic and office purposes, including entertainment. Among the entertainment facilities which the computer offers are paying music (CD, DVD, VCD), television viewing, listening to radio, and playing games. These have become a veritable source of relaxation not only at home but also during break and other leisure times at work.

Education/Training

The resourcefulness of the computer extends to its use in Computer Aided Instruction and Computer Aided Learning. Programmed instructions are possible in any area of education and training.

The lessons to be taught are organized into modules. The student or trainee can run and follow the lessons at his or her own pace. Difficult lessons can be repeated as often as the learner pleases. This facility has make distant learning possible be very easier.

Another advantage of this form of earning/instruction is that the learner can use it in his privacy at any time he wishes. Finally, the student or trainee can learn without the possibility of being ridiculed in front of colleagues for being slow.

E-Commerce

E-commerce is used as the short form of electronic commerce, e-commerce refers to ‘all online transactions’. As the name implies, e-commerce is achieved through the use of computers. Individuals and organizations, using online facilities are able to buy and sell on the internet.

A potential buyer can assess a company’s website, fill out an order form, e-mail it to the company and effect the needed payment. In return, the company receives and processes the order and dispatches or mails the goods ordered to the customer.

There are two types of e-commerce; business-to-consumer (called B2C, for short) and business-to-business (called B2B for short). Business-to-consumer e-commerce involves online sales to final users or consumers while business-to business is concerned with online sales by one business organization to other businesses.

There are two major distinctions between business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce.

They are as follows

  • Negotiation: Selling to another business involves haggling overprices, delivery and product specifications. Not so much with consumer sales. That makes it easier for retailers to put a catalog online and it is why the B2B applications were for buying finished goods or commodities that are simple to describe and price.
  • Integration: Retailers do not have to integrate with their customers’ systems. Companies selling to other businesses, however, need to make sure they can communicate without human intervention.

The first difference is founded on the notion that retailers’ prices are fixed and are not subject to bargaining. To a very large extent this is not true of the Nigerian situation where well over 95 per cent of shopping transactions involve haggling over prices. The only exceptions are retail purchases in supermarkets/department stores, fast food shops, petrol filling stations and a few other retail outlets. This does not suggest the inapplicability of e-commerce to retail trade in Nigeria. What it does indicate is that when adopted, it would have to make room for haggling, at least in the short run until the practice of fixed prices becomes prevalent e-commerce may well promote the use of fixed price tags in Nigeria.

E-commerce involves the use of sophisticated software packages and is founded on the knowledge that individual customers and business customers have access to computer. Again, there is a serious limitation in this regard in developing countries where the majority of businesses, especially small-scale ones, and the vast majority of shoppers, including the so-called elite either does not have access to computers both at home and at work. Worse still, many are not computer literate.

A final obstacle to e-commerce in Nigeria is die high incidence of fraud and the consequent lack of trust between businesses and their customers.

In spite of these limitations, we expect that in a couple of years e-commerce could become a reality in Nigeria and more Nigerian organizations might begin to sell online. Already, in the banking, hotel, air travel and stock exchanges, some operators have either gone online or are experimenting with online transactions. Other Nigerian businesses and Nigerian shoppers can also begin to take advantage of online facilities offered by companies overseas.

 

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