In today's global marketplace, even small to medium-sized businesses cannot afford to ignore the value of information technology. As James Senn (2004) notes, interconnected groups of computers offer four benefits to business: speed, consistency, precision, and reliability. Together, these information technology benefits allow businesses to respond quickly to an ever-changing market. Additionally, decisions based on consistent and precise information give executive managers the confidence necessary to make split second decisions based on a wide range of data. Finally, as individual computers have grown more reliable, so have computer networks. Mean time to failure has increased for hardware components and network providers have added redundancy to ensure a consistent operating environment (Senn, 2004).

Michael Vizard (2007) noted that during the information technology boom of the late 1990s, companies had invested in technology without much concern for the output. Now that the bubble has burst and the United States economy has slipped into recession, companies have again refocused on the purpose of all that technology: the information. Vizard notes that new technologies are becoming available that make better use of the underlying information. For example, enterprise search tools are giving new life to old information. As more and more information is compiled, the pure quantity of data has become nearly impossible to sift through. Enterprise search tools address that problem. Similarly, the overbearing amount of data collected by modern enterprises has become a nightmare for backup administrators. Deduplication software works at the block level to eliminate unnecessary duplication at its most basic level (Vizard, 2007).

Not only has the recent recession refocused information technology on the information it is supposed to serve, recessions in general highlight the importance of information technology. Robert C. Manion (1991) identified information technology as a major competitive advantage for companies during times of recession. One of the keys to survival in times of economic recession is to employ cost-cutting measures that save the company money in the short-term while increasing efficiency in the long-term. Information technology provides the tools executive managers can utilize to ensure cost-cutting measures are as effective as possible (Manion, 1991). Although the information behind these tools as always been available, informatoin technology makes this information easily gathered and analyzed.

It has been evident for years that investment in information technology leads to increased productivity. Even during the first stagnant years of this century, after the technology bubble had burst, information technology enabled workers to be more productive than ever before. Constant improvements in information technology allow the global workforce to constantly increase production (Carlson, 2002). This increase in production alone is enough to encourage small and medium-sized business owners to invest in information technology. Coupled with the ability to assist in strategic and cost-cutting decisions, the investment is one that any company can ill-afford to miss out on.

References

Carlson, J. (2002). Why The Optimism?. Economic Commentary. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Manion, R. C. (1991). Why invest in technology during a recession?. Canadian Business Review, 18(1), 31. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Senn, J. A. (2004). Information technology: Principles, practices, opportunities (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Vizard, M. (2007, August 2). REALIZING I.T.'S FULL POTENTIAL. Baseline, pp. 30,30. Retrieved June 1, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.