Thirty years ago, few business people had an idea of the impact that the rise of personal computers would have on business.
In fact, few people even knew about the presence of the internet, much less how much it would influence their daily interactions.
Change #1 – Communication Methods
Thirty years ago, if you wanted to communicate to a colleague or other business you wrote a letter using a word processing program, printed it out and sent it through the post office mail. Today, the internet has made this method of communication almost obsolete. In rare cases, a written copy of a letter may be needed for legal reasons. However, the majority of business-to-business communication occurs via email, which is faster and more efficient for most business people.
Another form of communication that is possible as a result of the internet is distance meetings. With video conferencing, many businesses do not need to hold meetings in person. Instead of the cost of a business trip to a remote or satellite office, colleagues can meet face-to-face by logging into a video conference center.
Change #2 – Marketing Methods
Marketing has also changed dramatically with the introduction of the internet. According to the Pew Research Foundation, consumers now use the internet as their primary source of information about products and services. They use customer testimonials from other internet users as a basis for making purchasing choices.
Additionally, the internet can be used today as a launch point for new products and services. With social media sites, it is possible to gain momentum and interest for a business by announcing sales or promotions for customers. Article marketing can be used to increase website traffic and interest in products and services, with each website visitor or article reader representing an opportunity to increase sales.
Change #3 – Financial Transactions
With the internet, financial transactions are also much easier for many businesses as a result of the internet. It is possible to conduct financial business entirely online and there are literally thousands of businesses that exist entirely through a website. It is easy to conduct sales transactions, make credit card and other payments and monitor other financial accounts without ever needing to leave your office or home business.
Change #4 – Information Gathering Technology
The manner in which businesses monitor and gather information has also changed significantly because of the internet. No longer do many businesses maintain subscriptions to multiple print journals in an effort to stay up-to-date with industry trends. Instead, they are able to maintain subscriptions to professional journals online. Additionally, it is now possible to monitor the impact of marketing effort with internet-driven programs which can provide real time measures of marketing activities within moments of the actions.
It is also possible to quickly and easily transmit information with the internet. For example, companies working on product development can now transmit 3D prototype drawings from one department or office location to another. It is possible to send descriptive product videos over the internet and even embed videos within websites.
Change #5 – Employment
Another area of impact for businesses is employment. Today it is possible to advertise, recruit and employ people entirely over the internet. Additionally, it is possible for employees to now easily and conveniently work from home, reducing operating costs for many employers and opening employment opportunities which were not possible in the past.
With websites such as CareerBuilder, Monster and The Ladders, employers can specifically define their ideal candidate and receive applications and resumes without ever placing an employment advertisement in a newspaper or industry publication. It is possible to speak with potential employees via email and video conferencing, making it possible to recruit potential employees from distance geographic locations without the need or expense of travel.
With the internet, employers are discovering that many employee functions can be performed at home. It is possible for an employee to logon to an employer website or program. It is also possible to monitor employee activities with keystroke monitoring and web cams.
The internet has made it possible for communication to happen instantaneously and efficiently. The way in which companies develop and market products, interact with consumers and conduct business has also changed dramatically. Finally, employees are now able to work at home or from remote locations in ways not thought possible in the past. With the internet, the landscape of business has changed forever and is not likely to stop changing any time in the future.