Technology is the method used to change organizational inputs into outputs more efficiently. It is more than machinery; it is also the knowledge, tools, techniques and actions applied to change raw materials into finished goods and services. The technologies that employees use range from simple to intricate. A simple technology involves decision making rules to assist employees perform routine jobs. For example, bank clerks who enter savings and loan data into computers perform routine tasks and work under such rules demanding few independent decisions. A complex technology is one that requires employees to make numerous decisions, sometimes with limited information to guide them. A doctor treating a cancer patient must answer many questions and make many decisions without having much help because the technology for treating the diseases has not been perfected.
Every organization has at least one technology for converting its resources into products or services. An Auto manufacturer in India employs an assembly line process to manufacture cars and management institutes use a number of instruction technologies (lectures, cases, group discussions, programmed learning, experiential excises etc.) to empower students with latest thinking in various disciplines. The important point is to see how organizations tune their resources in line with changes in the environment, produce eco-friendly and want satisfying products and survive the competition. New technologies have changed the rules of the game completely, especially during the last quarter-century throwing well established sound businesses out of gear. Every new technology is a force for creative destruction. Transistors hurt the vacuum-tube industry, xerography hurts the carbon paper business, autos hurt the rail roads, and television hurts the newspaper. The face of technology can produce problems for organizations even those on the cutting edge of technology.
Technological advancements have so quickly and substantially increased the power and capacity of personal computers that desktop and laptop PCs have fast replaced large, mainframe computers in many companies. It took a long time for an established company like IBM to recover from rapid advances in technology.
Computerization of equipment and machinery in the last quarter century has brought phenomenal changes in the market place and the speed of change is likely to continue to accelerate in the 21st century. Among today’s important information technologies are computers and computer networks, telecommunication systems, broadcast and entertainment systems, document reproductions systems, and satellite communication systems. An intelligent management of information technologies is no longer a question of choice. It is a matter of competitive survival. Information over the years has become a valuable resource. Organizations using appropriate information technologies to get the right information to the right people at the right time will enjoy a competitive advantage.
By linking more than 2000 drug stores with an on-line computer network and satellite communication system, a pharma company has become a market leader in service, speed and quality. Within minutes one can have what he or she needs. It is the the real proof of the efficiency of the pharma company’s system. Technology more, importantly creates innumerable alternatives, including the following that simply were not feasible with older technologies.
Technological forces require that management keep abreast of the latest developments and where ever possible, incorporate advancements to maintain the organization’s competitiveness. The right technology at the right time would bring in the requisite benefits. An Insurance company group (SEM) which sells life and health insurance to small businesses, started using laptop computers and new software to prospective members at the customer’s site and print out ID cards instantly. The on-site process is accomplished in less than half a day.
The Auto company in India success in the automobile sector is attributable to a large extent to the right choice of technology employed in producing a low cost fuel efficient car in India. Companies like Telco, Tisco, Ashok Leyland, L&T, Ranbaxy, Crompton Greaves etc., have gone for reengineering their work processes long back with a view to serve the customers more efficiently .
Technology is cost orientd in the sense that decisions regarding its choice are irreversible and costly. The impact can be quite serious, for, a wrong choice, a small mistake spells the end of a business. Business that failed to see the writing on the wall quickly and move with the times using efficient processes and latest technologies had to draw the shutters down.
Market forces as we all know ruthlessly crush those firms that do not run with the times and change their processes rapidly in line with global trends. This requires shrewd business thinking, advance planning and timely actions.