Research Paper on Impact of IT on Business

Technology is a major driver of efficiency in the business. It enables businesses to perform speedy transactions and improves the decision making process. Additionally, it allows the business to track the activities of the workers and those of the customers on real-time basis. For instance, a Point of Sale system (POS system) can aid a business in making informed decisions. Moreover, it can increase the managers’ knowledge concerning the business leading to improved visibility. Although technology may lead to negative outcomes such as the loss of jobs, it may promote the achievement of various benefits which include reduced operational costs and flexibility.

Advantages and Disadvantages of POS systems

As indicated in the case study, the business attained benefits which include increased business visibility. In addition, it was able to reduce the cost of operations. The other advantages included the reduction in total time taken to process papers. Initially, the firm relied on regular paperwork to record prices, sale, and maintain business information. The introduction of the POS system enabled the improvement in the general functions of the business which includes inputting, distributing, and tracking (Pearlson, Keri, Saunders, and Dennis 56). The introduction of the POS system enabled the organization to multi-task. In other words, it was possible to process and store data almost spontaneously. Some of the disadvantages of the POS system include the loss of clerical jobs. Additionally, the initial cost of installing the POS system was quite high.

Competitive Advantage

The POS system will increase the competitive advantage for the business. Competitive advantage is the ability of an organization to utilize approaches that increase customer satisfaction. Firstly, technology is a source of competitive advantage because it increases efficiency through cost reduction. The POS system is a value addition to the company, as it helps in the achievement of accurate processes and procedures. Technology is a major driver of the supply chain. Evidently, the organization was able to achieve improved visibility into the processes and procedures because of the application of the POS system. Apart from that, technology increased the company’s ability to manage the activities of the workers. For instance, it was able to learn the most profitable departments. In particular, the owners were able to eliminate some of the redundant functions that added costs to the company. The resultant cost-reduction is important because it facilitates the sale of items at lower cost than the competitors (Pearlson, Keri, Saunders, and Dennis 61).

Due to the improvement in the processes and procedures, it was possible for the organization to enhance workers’ positive experiences in the company. For instance, the organization used the system to increase scheduling and allocation of tasks effectively. As a result, the POS system promoted the experience of the employees leading to job satisfaction. Satisfied workers are an important resource for the company because they are committed to ensuring quality outcomes. A dedicated and committed workforce adds value to the organization, hence, increasing the competitive position of the firm.

Importantly, the POS system increased the speed of delivering goods and services to the customers. The customers gained value through timely deliveries and accurate billing. Notably, the system replaced the cash register and manual paper records. Therefore, the management of customer’s records and information became easier and effective. It is possible that the business gained more customers due to the efficiency in service delivery, thus, gaining competitive advantage.

Advantages of a Centralized Database

As with the case of Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery, a centralized database can promote the ability of the management to assess the productivity of the departments and individuals. A centralized database allows for comparison analysis to check the most profitable and loss-making organizations. For instance, the owners were able to understand that some of the products were less profitable than they thought earlier. A central database allows for the transformation of data to fit the needs of the business (Pearlson, Keri, Saunders, and Dennis 71). For instance, instead of stating the targets for the workers, the owners utilized the information from the system to allow workers set their own goals for the following financial year. The transposition of data and information is mostly possible with centralized systems. A central database promotes data security and safety through restricted access. The managers and owners can view the information from the repository, but they cannot make changes without the required authorization. The fact that viewing rights are limited is an indication that it improves privacy and safety.

POS and Decision-making

Process Efficiency

The system can improve the decision-making process since it promotes visibility into the company’s processes. Due to the increased business intelligence, the managers were able to allocate tasks efficiently. In fact, decisions regarding the job scheduling were arrived at quite easily since the POS system transformed the techniques of management. The instant access to messages and company reports is the main driver for effective decision-making. In most cases, organizational leaders may make wrong decisions because of the lack of sufficient information.

Tracking Information

The managers can track daily records and statistics and make adjustments. The use of the POS increases openness and accuracy of the records, which is an indication that managers can make informed decisions. Managers can check the performance of the departments and individuals on real-time basis. The fact that the POS database is centralized is an illustration that one can compare data and statistics and access required reports instantly. Managers make decisions concerning the future projects and strategic plans. In the case study under discussion, the managers gained the benefit of tracking workers’ goals and anticipated performance. In fact, they granted the employees a particular level of autonomy that would not have been possible with the manual records. Additionally, the POS technology increased the speed of decision-making.

Questions Answered Effectively

Through the system, one can provide answers for questions concerning the time taken to complete a project. Additionally, it is possible for one to quantify the costs and expenses incurred in a day, a week, a month, or annually. At the same time, one can answer a question on the projected profits of the company at certain periods. The information is accurate and reliable since machines update it quite fast. Unlike manual systems, the POS system provides a comprehensive report that can promote decision-making process.

The information obtain can be used to manage business operations better. For instance, job scheduling information can help the management in implementing strategic staffing to ensure the optimum number of employees in the firm. Additionally, it can help them to make decisions concerning investing and divesting. Through the application of the POS, the owners realized that some products were not as profitable as they had imagined. Therefore, they may divest or establish new ways to add value to promote sales.

Network

The telecommunication options for the system include the use of Local Area Network and Wide Area Network. However, the most appropriate option is the Local Area Network (LAN). LAN covers a distance of approximately 1 kilometer (Pearlson, Keri, Saunders, and Dennis 56). LAN is effective in the event of centralized IT administration, such as the application of POS in the case study. Since it covers a limited number of devices, it can promote speedy transactions. In addition, it can enhance centralized storage of information and ensure the safety of data sent from off-site locations.

Wired Technology

Wired technology is the best for the company at the moment. It should utilize thick cabling comprising of Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable. The cabling system is effective in transmitting large amounts of data. Additionally, it is durable compared to the coaxial cables (Pearlson, Keri, Saunders, and Dennis 51). Therefore, the management should purchase the Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable since it is compatible with the LAN network.

Risks of the POS System

Although the POS may lead to many benefits in the organization, it increases the risk regarding the security, privacy, and confidentiality of information.

Security

The system is prone to interference by hackers and malicious individuals. The organization may lack the ability to control cybercrimes which include hacking. The risk of hacking, malware, and virus may destroy essential data and information. At the same time, the system is prone to theft leading to the loss of employee and customer data.

Privacy

One of the main problems associated with the POS system is the possible intrusion of workers, customers, and company data. For instance, basic information concerning the customers may be stored in the system, thus, increasing the probability for misuse and cyber bullying. There is a possibility that customers’ data may be lost in the process of updating information. Additionally, some employees may misuse the company’s records for selfish gain.

Confidentiality

The display of information on the company’s system is an indication that some workers are allowed to view it. Some of them may make adjustments to the records in a malicious attempt to cause harm to the organization. For instance, a malicious operator may alter the ratings of a worker to hinder him/her from receiving a promotion or salary increment. Therefore, it is evident that information can be lost or distorted without the knowledge of the owners or managers.

In conclusion, point of Sale system (POS system) can aid a business in making informed decisions. A centralized database allows for comparison analysis to check the most profitable and loss-making organizations. Managers can check the performance of the departments and individuals on real-time basis. The fact that the POS database is centralized is an illustration that one can compare data and statistics and access required reports instantly. The telecommunication options for the system include the use of Local Area Network and Wide Area Network using a cabling for data transmission. However, the POS system is prone to interference by hackers and malicious individuals. Basic information concerning the customers may be stored in the system, thus, increasing the probability for misuse and cyber bullying

 

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