Topic: Business › Business Operations
Sample donated: Marcus Collier
Technology, specifically computers connected to the Internet, have revolutionized modern business and created efficiencies never before seen. Without a doubt, organizations are able to accomplish tasks determined to be out of reach decades ago. As information travels faster and more reliably, barriers of distance disappear, allowing for easier globalization and unprecedented speed and accuracy of internal and external systems. With organization-wide enhancements in technology, the same advancements have been made on a personal level as well; online banking, smartphones and email come to mind as key developments.
The ability to have all this information at your fingertips, in real-time, has improved the lives of its users immensely Technology has brought immense benefit to our lives and when used appropriately can allow for tremendous educational and efficiency opportunities. Primary focus will be made on the increasing use of smartphones (the BlackBerry effect), increased attachment to the workplace as a result and addiction to modern communication such as social media, blogs and news. Online banking has revolutionized personal finances, investments and retirement planning.
The days of personal bankers, tellers and checkbooks have been all but erased from our lives, replaced by a website, at our fingertips capable of handling every element of personal finance available 24/7. From the comfort of one’s own home, an individual can transfer money anywhere in the world, shift their investment portfolio from emerging markets to national manufacturing, pay their utility bills and apply for a mortgage to buy their dream home. How does this make one more efficient?
Having all these tools available has consolidated our personal finance vendors tremendously and reduced the amount of time needed to both manage and create key elements of our lives such as mortgages, bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts has allowed for vast time savings. Additionally, the speed of these tools has allowed individuals the ability to be more flexible, cautiously assume more risk and capitalize on opportunities better than ever before with the ability to quickly make adjustments and react to news and industry happenings.
Of course with such ease of manipulation, comes increased risk. The main risk behind online banking, with much debate, is the security of one’s finances as it very much operates in the cloud and lacks tangible elements. With accounts available via a simple password, actually how secure are the funds held within? In the not too distant past, a financial advisor with a Masters degree, Series 7 criteria passed and knowledge unavailable and foreign to those investing almost exclusively managed personal investments such as IRA’s, 401k’s, mutual funds and Stock Investments.
These advisors are paid handsomely to calculate risk, assist with retirement planning, goal setting and management of life savings to ensure security and profitability to those who entrust them. In the modern environment, investors have an overabundance of resources available to them, in fact (series 7 without education? ). Firms such as E*Trade (www. etrade. com), Fidelity (www. fidelity. com) and Bank of America (www. bankofamerica. com) offer the ability to sign up for an online account in under 5 minutes, making the same information available to professional advisors available to everyone.
With ease of use, however, come some negative elements as well. As the modern environment has given the general individual the proper tools to invest with ease, it has encouraged them to make serious financial decisions without the proper training. This has proved to inspire many to assume more than the traditional risk and thus the potential for serious financial loss and unintended consequences. Smartphones has mobilized the business world and allowed for amazing efficiencies that have decreased the gap traditionally seen in international business operations.
The mobile devices have changed how individuals are connected to the workplace, and how users have changed their philosophies accordingly: “The goal is no longer to be ‘in touch,’ but to erase the possibility of ever being out of touch” (GreenBlatt, par. 4). Allowing for constant access to the workplace and all-but real-time business communication, this technology has also had an effect on the personal lives of users. From keeping up to date with personal emails, news updates based upon individual preferences, video games and even easier access to our online services such as mobile banking, social media, etc. It’s been a boon in that it gives access to all kinds of stuff that a crummy high-school library wouldn’t have even come close to having,” says Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University (Greenblat, par. 5). Such advancements have allowed the devices to act as a central portal to the outside world and thus are never far from reach of an individual. “You can gather up information quickly and easily, which might have taken you enormous amounts of time in an earlier age,” Thompson says. “At the same time, people will moan and groan about the distractions that these devices bring into their lives” (Greenblatt, par. ).
In addition to providing a vast amount of resources at your fingertips, Smartphones have proven to allow for increased productivity through multi-tasking, networking and education. As the majority of modern information and data is being delivered digitally, the population has begun to reduce its reliance upon paper and paper goods. This has allowed many corporate environments to operate virtually paperless and assist in the global initiative of reducing both the corporate and individual impact on the environment. The same can be said for personal activities with items such as newspapers and magazines, in addition to e-bills etc. oing paperless. With the myriad of benefits that Smartphones provide, there are some unintended elements that need to be weighed and considered.
Modern society’s reliance on smartphones has changed the way that humans communicate forever. By utilizing a technological medium to facilitate a communication, an individual is potentially limiting their person-to-person skills that still hold immense value in the common environment. “We have a generation of digital natives with very strong techno-skills and very strong neuro pathways for multitasking and experiencing partial continuous attention and other wonderful adaptive skills,” Small says. But they’re not developing the face-to-face human contact skills. ” (Greenblat, par. 22) The fact that one is constantly connected to the outside world can inhibit them from downtime that allows the mind the ability to rest, rejuvenate and reflect. “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” says Loren Frank, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco. When the brain is constantly stimulated, he said, “you prevent this learning process. (Richitel, Par. 7) Addiction to technology can become as detrimental to your health as other well-documented forms by reducing physical activities and stress related tension. In fact, China and South Korea have declared “Internet addiction” a primary public health concern. (GreenBlatt, Par. 6) Near-constant use of the Internet can not only be habit forming but also something that comes to be expected by others. The use of Smartphones is only driving this further with even easier access to resources on the Internet.
This concept has brought about a term called “The Blackberry Effect” – defined as a state of addiction to the connectivity provided by the modern smartphone. The “BlackBerry Effect” has essentially put fuel onto the fire of a workaholic, allowing a connection that bridged the only previous gap available, their personal life. “Giving a workaholic a laptop is like giving an alcoholic a bottle of gin,” says E. Jeffrey Hill, a sociologist at Brigham Young University. “It enables just that kind of compulsive behavior. ” (Par. 11) Lastly, Smartphone users have created many new laws as they relate to when it is appropriate to use them.
For instance, more than 5,000 deaths and nearly half a million accidents were caused last year by distracted driving, according to National Highway Safety Administration figures. ” Automakers have supported bans on text messaging and using handheld cell phones while driving, but they have introduced other distractions, he said. “In recent days and weeks, we’ve seen news stories about carmakers adding technology in vehicles that lets drivers update Facebook, surf the Web or do any number of other things instead of driving safely,” he said (Social Networking, Par. 3) A world of moderation – It is apparent that the use of technology in our personal lives has had a profound impact. As a group population, there have never been such fast moving developments aimed at creating efficiencies and overall quality of life. What is also fair is that it must be used appropriately and as designed to ensure the negative elements do not outweigh the benefits. Moderation is key; one must realize the power and detrimental factors prior to welcoming a new element of technology into your life.