In his groundbreaking bestseller that many people actually said went into strange directions at many points “The World is Flat”, author Thomas L. Friedman did not think twice before declaring Information Technology (IT) as one of the biggest enabler for the world of business. A couple of decades back in time, technology used to be an advantage limited to those who could afford it.

Today, it’s a necessity, a pre-requisite. Helping businesses drive costs down, enabling cross functional and geographically distant teams to collaborate, enabling shared repositories of information, facilitating fast communication, helping managers decide better – that’s just the beginning of what IT does for any organization. For a deeper appreciation of the value that IT adds to a business, read further.

IT as a Transformation for the Whole Concept of Business Communication

Quick communication is a key driver of workplace productivity. Modern IT tools are enabling faster and better decision making, by enabling super quick communications between people sitting in different parts of the world.

Email servers handling thousands of emails every day, routers to establish wireless connectivity, instant messaging and file sharing systems that help people collaborate on the same projects despite not being physically proximate – all these are just a few of the marvels of IT in terms of enabling business communication like never before.

Leverage IT to change the way you generate, store, and process data. Think on the lines of facilitating decision aids to managers through quick reporting tools, helping large teams come together and collaborate on projects, enabling archiving of training material, and facilitating quicker connections between all stakeholders, to ensure free flow of information.

IT as an Enabler of Efficient Business Processes and Informed Decision Making

IT is regarded as the biggest enablers for businesses because of the efficiency it brings to the workplace. So many vital business tasks can be automated and performed with remarkable accuracy and speed with IT, that it considerably frees up management man-hours for strategizing and solving priority issues.

Right from streamlined work flow management systems to shared storage spaces where team members can simultaneously work on a particular object – IT has blessed businesses with many tools of achieving more in less time. Automation of mundane tasks, such as handling counting of inventor when a vendor’s truck enters your warehouse through an RFID gun rather than a hired laborer, saves costs, and builds efficiencies.

Also, by allowing lightening fast calculations and processing of data based on complex logics, IT has brought forth the revolution of Big Data and data analytics. By crunching historical data, managers can discern trends, and make smarter decision.

IT as a Lever of Competitive Advantage

With most markets being fiercely competitive, it’s natural that modern business organizations are always on the lookout for sources of competitive edge. This is where the CIO and the CEO can collaborate, and think of IT as not only an enabler but also as a differentiator.

It’s amazing how IT can become a source of competitive advantage, whether by helping business organizations create better products that are more aligned to customer tastes and preferences, or by reducing time to market, this allowing businesses to beat competitors and capture unexplored market segments.

Beat your competitors on price by leveraging IT to produce your finished goods at lower prices, or differentiate on the basis of customer service delivered in real time via IT. Information Technology also has a massive role to play in the design of customer experiences with your brand. It can even be leveraged as a method of making the consumer’s switching costs higher, so that he/she chooses to stay loyal to your products, rather than risk going with a competitor t hat’s not technologically as empowered as you.