At the company and value chain level, there is evidence of the growing importance of knowledge management, which is the basis for the use of information technologies in companies.
Therefore, applications of information technologies in companies (ICT) can be observed, including market intelligence services, positioning systems and geo-referenced information, management processes for user-customer relations, new business structures, control systems, use of technology to certify quality, competitive intelligence, industrial automation, systems for decision making, etc.
In the way new technologies are used by companies, a distinction can be made between infrastructure or generic use and specialized use.
Infrastructural or generic use of information technologies in companies
In the first case, the technology supports functions such as audio-visual communication (fixed, mobile or VOIP telephony), written communication (e-mail, SMS, chat), data access thanks to the digitalization, storage and distribution of company documents and information search on the Internet.
Specialized use of information technologies in companies
In the second case, the specialized use of new technologies, companies benefit through solutions that support the different internal processes of their business and those external ones that relate it to their value chain, such as those described below.
In strategic management, managers or owners of companies can have instruments that allow them to apply and implement programming concepts and strategic business orientation, as well as monitor at all times, thanks to automatic data capture systems, the degree of compliance of their business action with the established objectives.
In financial management, there are applications that facilitate the monitoring of the economic and financial situation of the company, as well as its ability to generate revenue and profits.
As financial management should be part of a global system of planning and management of enterprise resources, years ago emerged the “Enterprise Resource Planning” or ERP – in its definition in English – covering the main activities and functions of enterprises, from production to distribution, from accounting to logistics.
These systems are usually very sophisticated and aimed at large companies, but there are some solutions that are adapted to the needs of medium and even small companies.
Product and production process design systems of the CAD/CAM type (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing), and prototype development and manufacturing (Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing – RPM) are used in production, integrated with quality monitoring systems, which reduce production times and costs and make more efficient use of inputs and machinery.
Supply Chain Management
In supply chain management (SCM), companies have applications that allow them to manage stock and plan supply, issue purchase orders, verify deliveries, administer logistics and manage the company’s financial relationship with its suppliers.
Customer management also benefits from web-based information and communication technology applications and solutions. With these systems, companies can manage their customer relationships, provide after-sales services, analyze sales patterns, process invoices and manage payments, communicate with customers to learn about their interests and preferences, and so on.
The promotion of the company, its services and products, can no longer be done without having a clear marketing strategy and corporate image on the web. Today, it is the company’s first showcase and an important point of contact for potential customers, even when they do not buy online.
The web strategy (which is more frequently making use of social networks such as Facebook or Twitter), is important to build customer loyalty and to gather information about products and potential markets.
As far as sales channels are concerned, the Internet, as the basis of information technologies in today’s companies, offers an alternative that can be interesting both for retail sales (B2C) and for the relationship between companies (B2B).
Governments, whether local or national, are usually the largest buyers of goods and services in the market and most countries have initiated a process of migration of their procurement systems to online platforms that ensure a greater number of potential participants in tenders, reduced administrative costs and greater transparency of their actions.
In this way, selling to governments through online public procurement platforms is a business opportunity that new technologies have opened up for companies, particularly for SMEs.
In distribution, traceability offers numerous advantages to producers and distributors, starting with better management of inventory and purchase orders, management of processes and certification documents, logistics and transport. It also ensures consumers consume products in line with their expectations and their rights to information.
When accompanying foreign trade, technology allows for the rapid processing of customs documentation to certify the origin and quality of products. Often, complete and verifiable documentation is a requirement for accessing certain markets.
Today these procedures are almost always based on information technology platforms in companies, mainly the Internet.
In the area of human resources, applications are used for personnel management, training and the search and selection of workers for the company.
Solutions have also been developed to support collaborative work, coordination and knowledge management, in a context where business and professional alliances and networking are becoming commonplace.
The use of information technology and corporate communications
We have developed a user-friendly and freely accessible Guide. This guide will allow you to explore how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can support your company’s competitiveness.
It will help you to identify those initiatives in the use of information technologies in companies that best suit your business needs and will also be useful for planning your future implementation.
The digital company
The company’s technological infrastructure then becomes an essential element of its digitization strategy and covers both the creation of internal networks (wired or wireless), the use of mobile systems for voice and data communication, data storage, security and Internet access.
Depending on the sector the company belongs to, there are also specialized services or solutions, such as, for example, in agriculture, meteorological survey systems that make it possible to monitor and forecast weather events, georeferencing and remote sensing systems that make it possible to adjust farming practices to different environments (precision agriculture), among others.
The innovation and adoption curve of business applications (e-business) shows the growing complexity of business systems that have evolved from the use of e-mail to an integrated management of the company’s business processes.