Definition of Information Technology
The concept and the term information technology is so broad that no precise and comprehensive definition, encompassing all the aspects of IT, can be given. Because information technology is set of various diversified and multidimensional technologies. Despite that we may try to define
IT is a set of technologies that merge computing with high speed communication communication links carrying data, sound and videos.
Examples of information technology include personal computers, of course, but also new forms of telephones, televisions and various handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants.
It should be noted that there are two parts of this definition, the computers and communications.
A computer is a programmable, multi-use machine that accepts data, the raw facts and figure, and process or manipulates it into information that we can use, such as summaries totals or reports. Its purpose is to speed up problem solving and to increase productivity.
Communication technology also called telecommunication technology consists of electromagnetic devices and systems communicating over long distances. The principle examples are telephone, radio broadcast, television and cable TV. More recently, there has been an addition of communication among computers, when people tell you that they “went online” with the Internet. To be online means using a computer or other device connected through a voice or data network, to access information and services from another computer or information device.
Now the students may be convinced that there a use of computer is not information technology, rather it is a set of technologies. Computer is just a part of it, through the most important and amazing.
Importance of Computers
The computer is truly an amazing machine. Few tools, other than computers, can help you perform so many different tasks in so many areas of life. That’s why computers have become so fundamental to modern society that without them our society would be a primitive one. They are such flexible tools that most people in the business community use them every day. Office workers use them to write letters, keep employee rosters, create budgets communicate with coworkers, find information, manage projects and so on. Many business people even when they are away from the office, for instance, salespeople use computers to manage accounts and make presentation.
Computers are also vital accounting departments. For organizing and manipulating large sets of numbers, which accounting departments do daily, computers are now considered essential. Even small business, which can comprise just a single person can afford to set up sophisticated accounting systems using a personal computer and affordable accounting and financial packages.
Even if you do work in a business computers effect you every day. Any time you go to the bank call information for a phone number or buy something out of a catalog, you are benefiting from the power and speed of computers. Even when you buy groceries and gasoline, you may be interacting with computers.
Capabilities of Computer
Besides being a multi-use device a computer has a number of remarkable capabilities namely very fast speed, accuracy, consistency, reliability and sufficiently large memory.
A computer can perform various activities by executing programs at a very fast speed. For example it can perform tedious calculations immediately. While a man would take very large time to perform the same job.
Along side speed the tasks performed by a computer are almost accurate. However you may some times come across program logic error, a procedural error or an error in data. But these error are not of computer rather these are human error, i.e. it is the man who makes these error while interacting with computer.
During performing a tedious task a man can get tired and he may want to change the nature of the job he is performing or at least he may to change the way he perform his task. But as computer works according to a preprogrammed way. i.e. it has to follow the instruction given to it in the form of a program computer has to perform required tasks with consistency.
As mentioned above, the computers have the capabilities to perform a required task in accordance with the preprogrammed instructions with a great speed, accuracy and consistency. Hence the job performed by a computer is highly reliable.
Man has very limited memory and recalling ability, whereas computer not only have a great capability of storing data in its memory but can also recall this huge amount of data instantly. For example, insurance companies use mainframe computers to process information about millions of policy holders. Obviously no man, even the genius people, can store such huge amount of data in his memory. Even if he could it would be impossible for him to recall required information instantly. While computer can do this job easily.
Uses of Computers
Can you think of a field where you can perform your job efficiently and productively, without the use of computer? Certainly you can’t. No matter what career you choose the use of computers will affect you life for this wonderful machine has encompassed almost all the aspects of human life. Some of the fields where in computers are being used extensively are:
As computers are excellent tools for managing large quantities of information, they are being extensively used by various organizations for various purposes like airline reservations, student registration, billing and countless others.
Computer specially combined with tools of telecommunications has become the most effective tool of communication. All the organizations need to communicate with each other, besides communicating with the various departments of the same organization in order to run their day to day business efficiently. The use of computers has facilited this task. Moreover now one can instantly communicate with the people all around the world through internet.
Education and research
Perhaps the most fruitful and productive use of computers has been in the fields of education, scientific and engineering research. The use of computers has converted education into edutainment. Engineers and scientists are utilizing computers as a tool of experimentation design and development. In this respect computerized design (CAD) provides a sophisticated array of tools.
Business and E-Commerce
The emergence of the concept of e-commerce is the result of wide spread use of computers in business. This has motivated almost all the business community to redefine the customer-salesperson relationship. Now you need not to go to super market for shopping for you may place you orders electronically. E-banking and E-commerce has reduce the costs of distribution of commodities and services tremendous.
The idea of e-government i.e. providing government service electronically using computers is under its way. The NADRA is an example of utilizing computers for this purpose. Besides the use of computers in the field of health and medicine, agriculture and industries has not only revolutionized these fields but has reduced the cost of production and distribution of goods and services resulting in an over all increase in the standard of living of a common man.
The Impact of Information Technology
The rapid advancement in the field of computers and information technology is having its consequences not only on the organizations but not individuals too. In this connection the most important impact of computers and information technology is undoubtedly the emergence of globalization. Computer based communication is turning the world into a global village. We can communicate electronically using the tools of information technology with the people on the other side of the world as easily as we might have a coversation with a neighbor. Besides the process of globalization information technology is influencing the society in the following ways.
Better Planning and Decision Making
Computer based information systems are facilitating decision making through better planning. As the information technology has improved the communication to the unbelievable extent, the multinational organizations are pooling their information for the better future forecast and planning.
Better Control of Resources
It is essential particularly in business organizations to check whether the planned goals and objectives are being achieved or not. In this respect computer system due to their power and reliability for accuracy can be utilized to measure actual performance levels and to compare these levels with panned standards. Not only this rapid communication of information through the use of information technology provides the business firms with an opportunity to compare its operational efficiency with that of other firms.
Greater Efficiency of Operation
Not to speak of IT and computer experts and professionals even a lay man in the street can realize that the use of computers along with other tools of information technology has improved the efficiency of operation particularly in industrial proces