Information technology is that branch of business environment which undertakes all the aspects of computing like software, hardware, telecommunication and other infrastructure which helps in creating, processing, securing and exchanging electronic information. It deals with all the factors that results in transmittal of data and systems that help firms facilitate communications. The following presentation is about the importance of information technology which covers classification of computers and their applications in the real world. It also covers the importance of Internet for individuals as well as for business organisations. The use of Information and Communication Technology as well as transformation of social media has also been mentioned in the presentation.
Information Technology has wide impacts on industries within the business environment. However, its impact could clearly be evaluated in service industry. There has been a vast use of various IT software in hotels and restaurants which have enhanced their service quality and better management (Chase, 2016). It also helps these firms to be competent and drive off competition which is necessary for their long term sustainability. As per the scenario, the organisation chosen for the purpose is Four Seasons Hotel London, which is one of the most popular hotels in terms of service as well as comfort. Following are the aspects of how information technology is influencing the firm.
Role Of Information Technology (IT) in success of Four Seasons
There is a very crucial role of IT in the success of Four Seasons. It could be used to enhance the functioning of the department which could ensure its success in the long term.
- IT in Marketing: Success or failure of a hospitality industry heavily depends on how the firm market its services in the public. Information Technology could play a vital role towards enhancing the marketing facet of the company. Four seasons could use effective Customer Relationship Management CRM software to up its game in marketing its special services to the public which could help them engage more customers globally.
- IT in Human Resource: For any hotel, it is very crucial that human resources are effectively manage in order to enhance their service quality and employee retention. Four seasons through HR software could manage these resources up to their maximum potential (Piotrowicz and Cuthbertson, 2014). These software would help them automatically manage the tasks given to employees which saves time as well as assessment efforts. By automation, managers at Four season could help appraise their performances and ensure higher effectiveness.
- IT for communication: Infrastructure of Four Seasons is quite huge and have various departments that are needed to internally communicate within themselves regarding various interconnected activities. Through automated IT software used for communication, the departments could allot tasks along with the timeline, as well as check the status of each pending activity. This would enable them to successfully manage the tasks without having external burden and inefficiency. Such communication software would enhance the speed of activities as well as better customer management which surely would contribute towards Four Season's success.
- Cloud Computing: Within the UK hospitality sector, Information Technology is quite useful in managing customer information. From hotel bookings, to checkouts, to feedbacks, cloud computing helps hotels to manage these informations about their customers effectively. Four Seasons through cloud computing could enhance its service quality by getting more informed about the customers. It includes their personal information like their birthdays, as well as information about their preferences through their effective feedbacks (Bloom and et. al., 2014). Cloud Computing software would be of vital relevance for the firm to enhance customer engagement and expand their profit share.
Thus, seeing the current technological advancements in the service industry, Information Technology is crucial for companies who want to enhance their management and service quality. Four Seasons could adopt various IT practices that would help the firm succeed in the UK market and eliminate competition via long term sustainability.
Ethical and Social Issues regarding the use of technology in Service Industry
The business environment of the UK is currently inclining heavily towards use of technology. Whether in hotels or restaurants, technology is used in every department of these businesses. Four Seasons is a hotel which is world-renowned and is viewed as a shining example of hospitality sector. However, it is prominent that the firm fulfils it Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) (Andrade and Doolin, 2016). With use of effective information technology, there are some very important ethical and social issues that need to be considered by Four Seasons (Ethical & Security Issues in Information System, 2018). Some of those issues are discussed below:
- Online Hacking: One of the major ethical issues that is a cause of concerns for hotels and restaurants is online hacking. With advancements in technology, the UK as well as the world is being exposed to such unethical threats. The customer base of Four Seasons is very big and the firm has abundance of confidential information in their servers. Online hacking could be a major threat to these information and violation in privacy data of the customers. This would induce distrust among the customers regarding the hotel and the information collected through hacking could be used against the organisation (Lee, Thomas and Baskerville, 2015).
- Copyright Infringement: Another major threat related to the use of technology that could impose heavy impact on Four Seasons is copyright infringement. For instance, Four Seasons come up with some innovative service of takeaway hotels that deliver the hotel room at the location of the customer. Since this could be a new concept, the firm would acquire a copyright for the same. Infringement would be the case when some other hotel is providing similar services without acquiring proper permission from Four Seasons. This would result in extra legal and monetary efforts that would cost the firm additional time and resources.
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- Health Issues: Positive effects of resources are limited until their optimum usage. Overutilisation of resources affects negatively on individuals. Similar is the case with technology. With enhanced equipments for service industries, employees are exposed with various gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, microphones, computers, laptops and so forth. Regular and daily use of all these causes severe negative effects on the health of employees of Four Seasons. The negative effects of health include cognitive losses in employees, strain on eyesight and hearing loss. Moreover, the radiation by these gadgets cause very harmful effects on the braincells of these individuals that must be a major concern for managers of Four Seasons.
- Negative Promotion: With various internet offers that are favourable to individuals, the UK is experiencing a high range of individuals that are addicted to the use of Social Media. Some of these even exploit their right to speech which is very bad for a firm like Four Season which is considered very respectable in the market. Be it a competitive strategy or limitation of the firm, it is highly likely that the company is subjected to various negative remarks on social medial platforms like Twitter or Facebook (Gelenbe and Caseau, 2015). This hinders the growth of the company and causes customers to prefer other competitors. In addition, such remarks spread like wildfire over the internet that is negative for the firm locally as well as globally.
With use of technology, Four Seasons must undertake various negative aspects associated with this and must work towards eliminating these in order to ensure prosperous growth in the structure of the company.
Differentiation between various networking technologies
Networks refer to interconnecting nodes which are developed to transmit and share information. They act as a backbone of every business organisation. Internet acts as a medium for information facilitation. Networking technologies have a range of coverage, from a room to entire planet (Nguyen, Newby and Macaulay, 2015). Each network type is designed to fulfil a certain purpose. Some of the crucial networking technologies that are used by business organisations are described below:
- Local Area Network (LAN): One of the most frequently discussed network is LAN. It connects devices with low voltage levels or computers within a short range, for instance, a building or few buildings together. This helps them to effectively share information with one another. These devices use routers as the medium to share information between the networks.
- Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): Used effectively in Four Seasons, this network type uses wireless technology to connect networks such as Wi-Fi. This network type decreases the uses of cables. Usually hotels have private WLAN networks protected with passwords. The users, in order to access needs to provide the authenticated password. Such protection helps in network breaches which ensures data security.
- Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): This network type covers a whole city and way larger than Local Area Networks. This provide networking facilities to households as well as organisations of a city or town. The ownership of these types of networks depend upon a single entity or a whole organisation.
- Wide Area Network (WAN): The complexity of this network is higher than any mentioned above. It connects network over wider geographical distances than MAN. Computers or other devices could connect and transmit information effectively despite of being miles apart. One of the most crucial example of WAN is internet. It helps Four Seasons to communicate to its stakeholders anywhere in the world instantly and whenever required.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): Internet becomes a prime source again and VPN's are established by causing extensions in private networks, which enables the users to transmit and receive informations as if they are a part of a private network. Moreover, private network could be effectively accessed by the users by virtual connections.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Four Seasons investing in Information Technology
Information technology in firms is very important for companies operating in service industries. It helps them to manage their operations effectively that helps them to sustain in a complex and dynamic business environment. It also helps to achieve greater competitiveness which is important for any company to succeed (Milgrom and Gemmill, 2015).
However, there are certain benefits and drawbacks for companies investing in Information Technologies. Some of these are discussed below:
- Streamlined Communication: Information Technology would help Four Season in establishing effective communication throughout the hotel. With better connectivity and dispersed and wider landscape, the firm could recruit and retain employees by collaboration and continuous communication.
- Strategy Development: With enhancements in knowledge and strong technological base, IT would help Four Seasons in achieving a concrete competitive advantages for the firm. It would also help the firm in developing various strategy that would enhance the management as well as the agility required for such a dynamic business environment.
- Waste Reduction: Information Technology in long run would help Four Seasons effectively manage their wastes by managing daily tasks in an effective manner. For instance, with effective online training programs, the firm could save its time and financial resources in training their employees. Also, automated software would allow effective management of performances of employees which is crucial for the firm.
- High Costs: It is not easy for companies to implement effective Information Technology within their organisation. It takes loads of financial support and resources to establish IT within the whole organisation. Four Seasons would have to spend a high amount to build a strong and effective IT system which could serve the organisations in the long run. Moreover, it also needs effective management which is costly too.
- Security Risk: Major IT systems are based on cloud computing systems to download and upload information. Strong cloud systems in recent past have also been breached and private information of the users have been exploited. Four Seasons might face this situation with their IT system and it also could pose a threat to its payment systems or information management. This represents a severe threat to the company by investing in IT.
- Regulations: Client informations are subjected to a lot of regulations. It is essential for Four Seasons to effectively manage these information as per the regulations. It is the prime concern for lawmakers to protect client information shared with the company. IT systems could be effective in handling such information but breaches in them might prove non- beneficial for the company.
Thus, it is concluded that Information Technology is quite essential for companies who work towards achieving improvements in their management systems. It is essential to enhance knowledge about the classification of computers and effective usage of internet. It is also used to enhance the knowledge about the ways Information and Communications Technology is used in the companies in the current scenarios. In addition, it is imperative to the know the use of social media in business organisations. An evaluation is necessary to determine how Information Technology could be beneficial for the organisation along with the social and ethical issues associated with it.
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