Management Technologies in American Corporations Essay

Pages: 30 (8031 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The unlimited capacity to store and deliver knowledge has created a new dynamic in the business world. It also has increased the demand for these new technologies, creating an environment of constant change and instability in the business world. This is not to say that this instability is necessarily a bad thing. By referring to the new dynamic as unstable, I mean that the advent of new technologies requires companies to constantly be looking to employ, or else they will, "fall by the wayside."

New technologies, internet and digital in particular, allow small companies to grow overnight, and can also plunge large companies to bankruptcy. Symonds (1971) stresses the increasing importance of information to the success of a business, "No businesss, however small, can be operated successfully without certain basic information concerning its objectives, capabilities, or results. It cannot be operated or controlled without a continuing flow of information regarding its potential market or sources of supply, its capacity or required level of investment, or its planned volume and projected cost of operations" (3).

Management of knowledge is becoming increasingly paramount in these organizations. Some have even gone as far to say that it is by far the most important aspect of any business. Those companies not taking advantage of the new forms of knowledge management will not survive in the long run. According to some experts, it is imperative that they move to establish new means of information management using the new technologies.

In their book, The Information Imperative, Cyrus Gibson and Barbara Jackson (1987) define this term as: "The urgent, obligatory need for business (and individuals) to respond to the opportunities and competitive threats created by the revolution in information technology and by the resultant huge increase in the availability of information" (1). In other words, the "imperative" is the necessity of organizations to pursue information and knowledge in this world that is being transformed into one dominated by the world wide web and digital technologies.

Gibson and Jackson (1987) note that the imperative is strictly about information, but its consequences are much broader in scope (4). They point out that like capital and labor, it is recourse. It is a primary recourse for managing business problems and it is a key for discovering new opportunities and advancements (Gibson and Jackson 4).

In his book, Mastering the Digital Marketplace, Douglas Aldrich (1999) quotes Ronald Reagen as saying, "Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across electrified borders" (237). Even as long as a decade ago, people were aware of the rapidly approaching age of knowledge. They knew that raw power was eventually going to be replaced by the power of information. The information superhighways of the future were the keys to success, and those who controlled them would be those achieving it.

There are two primary components of the information age: the world wide web, and the digital marketplace. The world wide web has already greatly transformed the way we live, while the digital marketplace is only beginning to do so. The main focus of this paper will be how companies can convert their knowledge organization digitally, but some attention will be spent on the world wide web.

To begin, the web went from basically an idea to a revolution in only a matter of a couple decades. Very few people and organizations foresaw the drastic effects that the world wide web had on industries, the marketplace, and the management of information.

In his article, "Internet Apocalypso," Christopher Locke (2000) describes the onset of the Net, "The Net grew like a week between the cracks in the monolithic steel-and-glass empire of traditional commerce. It was technically obscure, impenetrable, populated by geeks and wizards, loners, misfits" (3). Locke (2000) points out that its growth was due not to its role in business, but rather because it offered ideas (3). The internet became an incredibly rapid way of managing information. People could interact without constraints -- they could access information at the ease of buttons, whereas it might take them hours looking through a library (Locke 2000, 4).

The internet eventually attracted business, and created a new marketplace. This marketplace attracted everyone from high powered CEOs, to computer nerds, to "average Joe's." Most importantly, though, the internet changed the landscape of knowledge management, and in turn, it set the path for a change in the way organizations do business (Locke 2000, 10). In his article, "The Longing," David Weinberger (2000) writes, "We don't know what the web is for but we've adopted it faster than any technology" (43). The internet was, and still is today unique in that people use for no reason at all. Not only is it a medium for transporting information, but it also serves as a source of entertainment. The usage alone by users essentially "surfing" the world wide web clocks in at over millions of hours a year.

Company intranets, which are basically internal networks running on the Internet, are one of the primary sources of knowledge sharing employed by companies today (Bonnet 2000, 237). Intranets streamline company processes, such as: delivery, purchasing, and developing of products (Bonnet 2000, 237). In fact, purchasing online is more inexpensive and easier than the actual purchase of products through retail shops.

Another advantage to the intranet is that it connects employees. The intranet allows a company to spread its employees in many different areas of the country, or even the world, yet still remain in communication with them. An example of the benefits of intranets is they can train people, organize employees' accounts, and inform about new policies and procedures (Bonnet 2000, 238).

The intranet is also effective in reducing internal costs. They can keep administration and management down to small numbers by serving as a "universal" administrator. Bonnet notes that, "Intranet communication lets companies do the most with the least head count" (238). She points out that a firm can adjust its internal networks to guide company policies, and in turn, reduce the number of employees needed (Bonnet 2000, 238).

The point of mentioning the intranet is that it is yet another example of the way companies maintain their knowledge. Intranets, however, are only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to modern day technologies. Networking and the transfer of information have only begun to transform.

Every year, technology grows by leaps and bounds, and new, faster ways of maintaining information are developed. The intranets, while still important, are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We are entering the digital age, where the internet is only a secondary means of transporting information. Companies that just converted to the World Wide Web will soon realize that their network has just "gone out of style."

We all witnessed the internet boom and bust, but this is not to underestimate the importance of the internet. The bust was not a knock against the potential of the World Wide Web, but rather bad timing and resource management. Disregarding the eventual bust of many of the dot-coms, we can explore some of their origins, and the speed in which they developed and took form.

One example is the website, Sparks.com. Founded by Felicia Lindau, this company offered greeting cards that could be custom designed according to the customer's demands (Carlassare 2001, 189). It was brilliant in that it catered to the customers' needs, as opposed to a local gift shop where the cards are pre-designed and selection is limited.

Lindau came up with the idea when she was working as an account supervisor at an advertising agency (Carlassare 2001, 190). She envisioned the idea after forgetting to buy a card for a special occasion and realizing that all the gift shops and pharmacies were closed. She was faced with the dilemma that she could not be able to send the card on time, when she came up with the idea of a way for customers to custom design and send cards with just a few easy clicks of the mouse.

Her idea transformed into multimillion-dollar company that is still thriving today. The catalyst to her success is a theme I have previously harped on, and will continue to emphasize throughout the paper -- that the technology surrounding information technology is so advanced (and advancing at such a fast pace) that simple ideas can conceptualize into actual million dollar organizations in an incredible short amount of time.

The new revolution -- today and tomorrow's revolution -- is digital. Digital ways of processing and storing information is going to be the predominant technology of the future. This is not to say the internet will be obsolete (the two will intertwine with each other) but rather somewhat of a secondary means of transferring information.

The focus of the next part of my paper is on the digital revolution, and what companies need to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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