Management and Information Technology
The use of information technology (IT) in my managerial practices involves such areas as planning and scheduling, communicating, inventory management, procurement and home economics. In the work setting, IT in the form of computers and personal digital assistants is indispensable in planning and scheduling meetings. These tools allow me as manager and colleague to coordinate the schedules of the several members of staff and the different groups within. The computer allows for the consolidation of the widely varying schedules into a viewable space (the interactive screen) and aids the organization of meetings and activities around certain dates or events that may or may not be shared by all. Certain features of these technologies include reminders that help to reduce the likelihood of forgetting or missing important meetings or events, an effect which may have a significant impact on business.
Information technology has also made management easier and more efficient in the way it connects me with my colleagues and employees. The use of computers and mobile devices for emailing, text messaging and un-tethered telephoning makes it possible to get urgent messages across to colleagues and subordinates in a shorter period of time, with flexibility regarding the location of the persons to whom messages are being sent. Furthermore, devices that support emailing and texting also have the capacity to send these to many persons at a time. Other features allow interactive and graphic presentations, with the use of overheads and PowerPoint, which makes communication more interesting and effective (Reading, n.d.). Therefore, the use of this feature saves time and effort in communicating messages to a larger group. These features also ensure that each person receives identical copies of messages in order to avoid (as much as possible) equivocation and misunderstanding.
Inventory management also benefits from the appropriation of IT tools, as access to databases and the internet has helped to make information about the inventory much more readily available to me during times of stock taking. Databases are especially useful in that they hold information concerning the precise number of each item within the office continue to be available for use (Reading, n.d.). It also aids in procurement planning, as it provides long-term information about the trends of usage, which allows me to predict how much and how often to purchase certain products necessary for the running of the office. These IT products also help to control inventory, protecting against in-house theft and other forms of dishonest activity on the part of employees or colleagues.
Information technology aids in the performance of research that is essential in proper procurement practices. Researching prices for raw materials or goods on the internet has been invaluable in minimizing the costs of producing goods and offering services. Internet access provided by IT products has also aided in maintaining a competitive advantage, in that it has kept me (as manager and worker) abreast of what the competition is doing regarding pricing and the additional services offered that may make their product more attractive than that produced within my department. Researching and subsequently adopting, matching, or eclipsing these practices has aided in the retention of clients as well as the procurement of new ones.
Management in the home (home economics) has also benefited from the use of information technology. Personal digital assistants are used for making and amending such things as grocery lists as well as scheduling spontaneous activities around such core weekly activities as school, work and the extra-curricular events of multiple persons within the family. The computer and particularly the internet has made grocery and other forms of shopping simpler and more economical, as it provides information concerning prices, sales, coupons, and interesting low-cost events. Parental controls embedded in these devices have also been very effective in helping to manage the cyber-activities of children within the household.
So many areas of work life are already mediated by information technology that it is difficult to complain about any one. But perhaps one of those that might benefit most from increased use of IT is the conduction of actual meetings via such technology using “online, real-time, and time-sharing system,” if such a meeting needed to be scheduled right away and required persons to attend who may not be able to attend physically (Myers, 1968, p. 4). Another area which increased IT could improve is procurement. Upgrading the procurement system to make automatic inventory taking transferrable to the automatic purchasing of equipment and supplies would in a lot of ways make inventory management even simpler.
Myers, C. A. (1968). “Introduction.” The impact of computers on management. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 1-15.
Reading, R. (n.d.). “Computers as management tools.” Management of Agricultural Research: a training manual. FAO Corporate Document Repository http://www.fao.org/docrep/w7506e/w7506e05.htm