How Do Successful Businesses Use ICT?


Technology has become an integral part of the contemporary world, and it supports the daily life of almost every person. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has had a significant impact on the way companies conduct their business. Many enterprises of different scales have taken some of their operations and functions to virtual space, and every year, a number of new systems and new ICT approaches emerge. Moreover, frequently enough, companies start to actively implement ICT in all internal and external processes to ensure competitive advantage is reached and to achieve high-performance indicators. The purpose of this paper is to study businesses that successfully use ICT and, based on this analysis, provide insights into the ways information and communications technology can enable organizations to grow.

General Points

An important feature of prosperous businesses using ICT is the fact that they perceive this technology as a tool for achieving success. Therefore, ICT has become a means that helps them achieve their corporate goals on a daily basis. In general, companies can use three different IT components such as hardware, software, and algorithmic means (Whiteley, 2013). The first type assumes a logical layout and configuration of machines, systems, and other equipment that are used in aligning production tasks and managing processes. The second constituent is the algorithms that are necessary for the operation of technical equipment and coordination of activities. The third component of ICT justifies the feasibility of using software or hardware as well as their configuration (Whiteley, 2013). Successful companies that will be studied in the current paper have employed these constituents in different ways. Some of them have implemented separate modules, while other enterprises have gradually introduced ICT technologies to computerize one department (Whiteley, 2013). Regardless of their approach, the methodology they used had helped them achieve large-scale success.

Google Inc.

Google is one of the examples of companies, which have transformed their organizational culture through the use of ICT. In particular, the CIOs (Chief information officers) of the enterprise had comprehended the fact that technology was developing rapidly; therefore, the company needed to seize its potential and transform it into a competitive edge (Rosenbush, 2014). Google’s leadership believed that they could translate the organizational culture to all the employees through the type of technology they offered to the workforce. This approach has also allowed the company to empower its employees by giving them an opportunity to execute joint decision-making (Rosenbush, 2014). To achieve this aim, the organization has introduced a BYOD strategy (Bring Your Own Device) and allowed its workers to utilize any tools and applications that were convenient for them.

In one of the interviews, the company’s CIO Ben Fried noted that organizations should provide workers with greater freedom to ensure that the enterprise can develop. According to him, “so much of the culture stems from how we work” (Rosenbush, 2014, para. 6). This assumption has allowed enterprise technology to develop at the same speed as consumer ICT. Apart from that, the company has an ICT residency program. It provides employees with an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary for successful customer support despite the major they have.

Importantly, the BYOD strategy does not interfere with the company’s security regulations. An important feature of Google’s culture is the statement that security in all affairs should be a practice rather than a rule (Rosenbush, 2014). Therefore, the leadership enables employees to utilize their personal devices while providing them with a corporate operating system. If a worker uses any outside cloud providers, they will be checked for security issues, after which they can be utilized by the employee freely.

Another ICT strategy that Google has developed is an approach that allows the company to outsource strategically. The company does not reject outside vendors; however, it prefers developing its authentic means to support daily or any other operations (Whiteley, 2013). Some of the technology solutions are outsourced, while many of the functions are performed on Google’s platforms. For instance, the company used to utilize Dropbox, as well as many other organizations did. Nevertheless, it was decided to develop Google Drive since it was a core ICT that the company needed. Thus, the enterprise strives for an adequate mix of in-house and outsourced solutions to achieve the required levels of functionality, security, and expenditures.

Amazon.com, Inc.

Amazon is a remarkable example of the way ICT has become one of the competitive advantages of a successful company. The enterprise is one of the largest online retailers, which continues to grow constantly. According to statistics, the company’s website handles approximately 3-4 million deliveries daily, and its servers store more than 400 million items (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). Such a turnover rate has become reachable due to the creation and effective use of the ICT structure. It is interesting that the company does not disclose its approach; however, experts in the field have made assumptions about its nature.

At present, the company operates on a desktop with Linux, which is connected to the Amazon EC2 cloud (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). The hardware of Amazon is constantly modernized. In order to store massive data and process millions of requests per day, the enterprise uses large databases, and the central repository includes approximately 28 servers. In order to systematize tasks, operations have been divided into three categories, including queries, historical data (the largest category), and ETL (extract, transform, and load) (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). Such ICT capabilities allow the company to process up to 1.2 million shipments per day. In addition, the IT structure has enabled the company to make about 20 million inventory updates on a daily basis. In addition to the basic functions, the ICT structure allows not only to store and encrypt huge amounts of data but also to analyze consumer behavior. For instance, the system decomposes customer preferences and offers buyers relevant products based on this information. Such capabilities make the customer experience more personalized.

However, one of the most outstanding opportunities that the company possesses due to the developed ICT structure is the provision of confidentiality. Every day, customers send their bank and personal data to the company’s servers, which must be encrypted and protected. Additionally, the company allows its clients to protect any information they enter. This feature makes the user experience unique since data security is a top priority for the company. In particular, Amazon uses ICT capabilities to store bank card data outside the Internet access zone (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). Buyers can enter a portion of the digits from their card into the system and report the remaining numbers over the phone. To achieve such security levels, the company has created Amazon Web Services (AWS) system that provides free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)/TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates for the major platforms (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). Therefore, user data can be stolen in case of phishing solely. Experts in the industry predict that Amazon’s cloud computing approach can bring the company more revenue than online retail does.

Thus, the developed ICT structure of Amazon has given it the opportunity to create a unique cloud computing platform. Other companies are also trying to build a similar system; however, at present, AWS is the distinctive feature of Amazon (“AWS cloud security,” 2017). The company constantly invests in the development of its ICT structure in order to sustain its leadership.

Netflix

Netflix is a company that uses ICT technologies to achieve its corporate goals. At present, Netflix provides services to more than 70 million viewers around the world (Netflix, n.d.). However, such immense coverage is a consequence of the creation and use of a developed ICT structure. The company is an organization built on the Amazon ICT infrastructure, and it uses the capabilities of the IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) provider to achieve both technological and cultural scaling. The organization uses these possibilities to store multiple versions of films, broadcasts, and series in various resolutions and with a variety of audio tracks.

Apart from that, the company uses a complex technological stack (including Gluster and Cassandra technologies) and openly collaborates with large providers to improve its ICT infrastructure. To provide its services effectively, Netflix uses different algorithms. Some of them are oriented at the work of the recommendation system, while other algorithms personalize the elements of the service (Netflix, n.d.). Such openness of the ICT structure gives Netflix an opportunity to engage thousands of IT professionals in the optimization of its internal processes (Netflix, n.d.). Interestingly, such openness of the system implies the provision of internal data to third-party developers. However, this requirement does not undermine the level of the company’s security since Amazon furnishes a strong protection system.

Walmart

Walmart is a successful company that also actively uses ICT technologies. Initially, the organization started to introduce ICT to some of its business processes and departments. For example, a few decades ago, Walmart implemented a system of managing the logistics processes and a bar-coding system in order to conduct a more effective stocktaking of products (Myerson, 2014). After that, these methods were used to increase the speed of working with customers. In order to solve the issue of stock updates, the company has built a supply chain management system. This approach implied that both the enterprise and suppliers could keep track of the items.

At present, the entire strategy of Walmart is built on a centralized management system. Through the use of ICT means, the company can consolidate orders quickly and cooperate with suppliers on the terms that will be more favorable for Walmart (Myerson, 2014). Due to the effective management of assortment and pricing, the company has received an opportunity to change its price policy depending on the location (Myerson, 2014). Walmart’s data warehouse allows revealing patterns in the behavior of clients and delivering the necessary goods in the required quantity. Thus, the centralized ICT system offers Walmart the essential resources to track all internal and external processes.

Insights

Based on the experience of successful companies, it can be argued that the use of ICT technology is critical to business development in the contemporary environment (Whiteley, 2013). ICT infrastructure becomes a competitive advantage for companies if they use it as a tool for solving current problems and meeting their corporate goals. For instance, with the help of a developed ICT system, it is possible not only to elaborate on different areas of business but also to protect large amounts of information possessed by companies of any scale (Whiteley, 2013). In addition, it becomes possible to increase the efficiency of employees’ activities and take the business to new markets.

Successful organizations use ICT to perform different functions. The contemporary tools offer opportunities to communicate with clients around the world and sell commodities and services to them while decreasing expenditures. Apart from that, the use of ICT instruments helps in planning and controlling finances (Whiteley, 2013). In terms of internal processes, information and communications technology ease the process of interaction between staff while making it more convenient for all the parties.

To optimize business processes and increase profits, companies can use the existing software while developing new approaches to infrastructure management. Organizations can utilize cloud solutions to create virtual offices and store large amounts of data in a secure manner (Whiteley, 2013). The growth of the business is frequently accompanied by the complication of internal and external practices; therefore, the modernization of the ICT system is a prerequisite for achieving scalability.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be concluded that ICT is an essential part of contemporary business processes. The study on the use of ICT by such successful companies as Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Walmart has revealed that information and communications technology is a necessary condition for increasing the flexibility and effectiveness of corporate governance. With the help of ICT tools, organizations enhance the productivity of their business units, increase customer loyalty, and magnify profitability. Moreover, the accuracy of the data and its security, as well as efficiency when working with suppliers and customers, are characteristic features of successful companies that actively utilize ICT to achieve their corporate goals.

References

AWS cloud security. (2017). Web.

Myerson, P. (2014). Lean Retail and wholesale. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.

Netflix. (n.d.). Netflix open source software center. Web.

Rosenbush, S. (2014). How Google handles IT for its workers. The Wall Street Journal. Web.

Whiteley, D. (2013). An introduction to information systems. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.