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What is the Impact of Contemporary Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) upon Business, Society and Culture since the Invention of the Internet and the Role of ICT Professionals to Ensure the Ethical Use of Computer and Information Technologies in the Future
Neutrality of technology development is widely debated due to its restrictions in limiting negative externalities (Hogan Lovells 2014). Technological advancements bring with them both beneficial and unfavourable consequences (J. Wakunuma & Carsten 2014). The resultant effects are sometimes easily predictable, and some relate to unpredictable impacts on the stakeholders. Currently, such a scenario is experienced with the evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) solutions across the globe. There is an exponential growth in terms of accessing and affording ICT solutions (ADB 2010), offering an opportunity for the integration and collaboration of organisations, the public and the value system. At the same time, the innovative developments in ICT have resulted in negative impacts leading to ethical and moral issues (Miller, Michalski & Stevens 2000). This essay outlines the impact of ICT on the operations of business organisations, the public and cultural values. It also delves into the role of ICT professionals for the ethical usage of such solutions in the future.
Impact of ICT on Business, Society and Culture
The advances in ICT have a significant impact on businesses. The major overlapping enhancements include the improvements in communication, managing data and securing assets (Bughin, Chui & Manyika 2010). The introduction of email, web conferencing and messaging services act as cost savings measures adding benefits to a firm’s financial performance. E-commerce solutions and websites with compatible payment systems offer accessibility to expand globally, reaching different target customers. A robust communication system offers companies to be responsive, thereby improving customer relationship and supply chain management, research and development and product development and launch suiting customer requirements (Yarosh, Markopoulos & Abowd 2014). Data management initiatives have proven to be vital to reduce wastage, manage cash and information flows, reach target customers and hold control over stocks (George, Haas & Pentland 2014). This offers an opportunity for managers to undertake their decisions based on reliable and updated information. ICT has enabled the implementation of physical security systems to restrict data access to unauthorised personnel, safe storage and transfer and retrieval.
Although ICT provides different solutions to businesses for smooth functioning, it includes some negative effects. The primary concern is the capital investments required for the implementation of ICT solutions due to expensive IT/IS components and support staff (Harris, Wang & Wang 2015). Any imperfections in the cost-benefit analysis of such projects would offset their positive effects. Security concerns arise in managing customer data and intellectual properties, which are prone to cyber-attacks (Biener, Eling & Wirfs 2015). Apart from legal obligations, companies are enforced with data protection from competitors to maintain their organisational interests.
The major effect of ICT on society is the public entourage of information through increased accessibility. The positive effects on society are the creation of global public participation, enhanced communication channels and increased learning opportunities (Thinyane, Sieborge & Reynell 2015). The advancements in ICT have enabled people to access and utilise information sources effectively. It has allowed cheaper communication and assisted in the formation of relationships through global contacts. It has improved learning techniques through virtual and interactive multi-media sessions. New applications have created access to unexplored arenas and support to overcome disabilities (Scholz 2015).