1. Define what is encompassed in the term information technology.
Information technology includes both the computer technology that enables the processing and storing of information as well as the communication technology that enables the transmission of this information.
2. What are some of the ways that IT has become “pervasive”?
In the workplace, IT has become commonplace. It is becoming rare for an employee in most industries to go a day without interacting with some form of IT. Further, more employees are becoming reliant upon IT for some of their daily tasks or even may perform the majority of their daily work using IT.
However, IT has not only become pervasive in the workplace: IT can also commonly be found in the home and in public areas. In fact, by the end of the 1990s, these technologies had become so commonplace that airplane passengers today are instructed as to when the use of computers and cellular phones are and are not permitted. Airports, cafes, and other public locations are also already offering wireless network access, which make possible access to other individuals and computer networks while walking down a hallway or eating lunch.
Further, for some individuals, their social life is facilitated by or completely dependent upon IT. Cell phones, text messages, blogs, social networking websites, emails, web cams, online games, virtual worlds, and other forms of digital communication have become more pervasive in recent years and have replaced some face-to-face social interaction.
3. What kinds of portable IT can help employees work more efficiently and effectively?
Today’s portable technologies allow employees to work outside of the confines of physical offices – at home, at a client organization, or on the road. Lightweight portable microcomputers and handheld devices have become so useful and affordable that they have become indispensable for the traveling business professional. This means that employees can gain access to company resources as needed, and can keep working while using public transportation.
4. What kinds of IT can help support teams when team members work at different locations?
The most basic kind of IT for supporting virtual teams is the communication technology that facilitates the transmission of information among the team members. This may include telephone and Internet connectivity as well as devices and software that use the connectivity. Additionally, many organizations provide means for employees in many locations to access important network resources
5. How have some businesses used the Internet to compete based on low cost or on product/service differentiation?
Many retailers have used their Internet website to compete on cost. By offering sales transactions online, these businesses may decrease their expenses by eliminating physical stores, reducing holding inventory costs, and lowering the costs of individual transactions. Lowering costs also allows some retailers to better compete on price—a “low cost” strategy.
The Internet has also allowed some businesses to compete using differentiation. One example of using the Internet to compete on product/service differentiation is The LEGO Group’s “LEGO Factory” (http://shop.lego.com/Product/Factory/About.aspx). With downloadable software customers can design their own custom LEGO models, upload their designs over the Internet, and then purchase a custom set of LEGO blocks that can be used to physically build the pre-designed model. In this way, The LEGO Group differentiates their offerings from its competitors who do not offer custom block sets.
6. What kind of a business might be in the Factory quadrant of Figure 1.1?
Many types of businesses might be in the Factory quadrant. Many manufacturing businesses (as suggested by the name for this quadrant) that need...