A Review Of What “IT” Is—Do We All Agree?

Recently the owner of a small business said to me, “Gosh, I don’t need IT help—my business only has a half dozen computers.” A flag went up in my mind, but this was a casual conversation so I made a mental note to get back to that thought. When I did circle back to that comment, I was a little concerned. I would like to offer a short review of what “IT” is, just to be sure we all agree.

The Definition Of The Term Is Short And Simple

Information technology is “the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data.” (Merriam-Webster) Perhaps word processing was what first caught fire in business. The development of word processors was before my time, but I’ve heard stories about how that type of machine revolutionized work in the office and pushed electric typewriters into the annals of history. Word processors offered a faster way to create written communication from letters to contracts to novels. The ability to cut and paste text, for example, saved major time no matter what the writing task. The document could then be ordered to print and the original saved for future reference. Obviously, the printer had to somehow be hooked up to the word processor. You see how one innovation opened the door to where we are now, and technology was welcomed with open arms.

Companies today rely on information technology (includes hardware, software, and telecommunications networks) to help streamline their services and boost performance. Your phones today are not like the phones you opened your business with, most likely. Software programs specific to your industry can set you up to research data, analyze it, then plan scalability. IT has given businesses great tools to solve complicated problems.

IT Has Had A Profound Impact On Marketing And Customer Support

Who doesn’t use some form of internet marketing these days? Online advertising has shown us we can more quickly find our target audience, discover the range of their needs, then address how to educate them about our products and entice them to buy. We can track who is looking for what and where they looked. Customer relationships can be nurtured before and after a sale to create loyalty and return buyers. If there is a problem, customers can reach out on multiple channels from toll-free phone lines to emails—even social media platforms. I view that last one as a double-edged sword, to be honest. I prefer to keep my customer relations on a one-to-one basis, but it is still an option that works in some instances.

IT Stores And Protects Key Information

Information Management is about the storage, preservation, accessibility, and maintenance of your business data. If you do any of the above functions, then you already have “IT.” This is true even if you are doing it on only one computer. Even on one computer, a business needs to be able to find, manipulate if necessary, and share information from their enterprise. This ability will streamline operational and managerial processes. In the long run, thoughtful and up-to-date IT will save money and time, no matter how many users are on the network.

IT is not a fancy term for giant corporate endeavors. It is your email, your ability to scan and send, to save to a file that can be backed up. Even half a dozen computers need to be configured, patched, firewalled, and monitored if a business is to compete. If you are in a business that uses a computer—you have IT, You must be able to upgrade it, maybe expand it one day, and every minute it should be protected from cybercrime.

Is your IT still competitive in your industry? If you are not sure, give us a call at Aptica. We serve a well-defined segment of small to medium-sized businesses and we always start with a free assessment of what you have. Then, based on where you would like to be, we can offer suggestions on how IT can help you achieve that goal. It starts with a phone call.

Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 19 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.

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