The changes in technology
In order to understand the changes in technology, an understanding of the forces, which are influencing the world at large, is needed. These changes can be seen in individual events and in the patterns of the distribution of events through time. The existence and significance of the second Industrial Revolution is even more debatable than the fist. It was a continuation of the industrial and social changes and the appearance of new industries e. g. automobiles, chemicals, and electricity and new organisational forms e. g.
multi divisional and multi national, which have led the change. For the fist time there was BIG business and following from those anti-trust issues within the work force. The most recent industrial revolution and the one still underway, has seen the rise of industries based on information. A shift from meeting needs to wants. The rise of these new industries is often referred to as the “Information Revolution” or “Information Economy”. The changes in computer technology and the consequences for its applications are summarised below;
1960’s – computer systems called Mainframes were used, but they required specialist accommodation, operating systems, software and operators, namely programmers. They were also very expensive. 1970’s – computers became more powerful, software improved; it became more useful and complex. 1980’s – the desktop computer like the IBM PC and the Apple Mac were marketed. Therefore computing was now available on the desktop. Again power and software had advanced greatly; prices were also becoming more affordable.
1990’s – computers were now common within businesses, software now becoming standardised by companies such as Microsoft e. g. Windows 95, Office (Word, Excel, Access). Basically the hardware and software for computers combined with the growth of telecommunications industries, has developed into the Data Communications Systems we know and rely on today. Now businesses are able to communicate via e-mail and video conferencing at the touch of a button, and the explosive emergence of the Internet, as a world wide distribution channel for goods and services has changed how businesses operate forever.
It is the growth in this area which was never predicted by analysts during the 1970’s. Organisations now have access to sophisticated software, no longer for just repetitive tasks such as inventory control and payroll, but a new world of multi media, search and retrieval software. Information technology can now also be used as an important tool in the decision making process within organisations e. g. To provide long term forecasts using market research, statistical software, or by using spread sheet functions, such as those available in Excel.
These can be used to provide management with choices when deciding whether or not to head in one direction or another. These changes have also resulted in a changing workforce. No longer are teams of people required within finance departments, and certainly within the manufacturing industry automation of tasks has greatly reduced manpower requirements, all of which has seen the demise of the middle manager, as overall there are somewhat less people to manage. Interpersonal contact is also on the decrease as the need for physical contact has been greatly reduced also.