We live in a world driven by information and communications technology (ICT), where no company can afford to be left behind when it comes to modernizing. Technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives that most people would be lost without it.

Advances in ICT have given businesses today many advantages over companies of the past. ICT has cut costs while increasing productivity and opportunities in many industries around the world.

In some instances the production process has become highly automated, saving significant amounts of time and money. The data revolution has enabled organizations to mine data and gain valuable insight into markets, customer preferences, products, and services.

ICT has also turned the world into a global shopping center, allowing people to shop online, and easily and conveniently buy and sell products across the world.

ICT is the face of the future

ICT has become a catch-all description for the information technology industry. There is no single or universal definition of ICT, but it is basically all the tools and software that, combined, enable modern computing and allow us to function in a digital world. The term broadly encompasses all devices, networking components, hardware, software, data, applications and systems that allow individuals and organizations to interact digitally.

The components of an ICT system are mostly powered by wireless networks, but can be as sophisticated and cutting-edge as artificial intelligence and robotics, or as basic as landline telephones and radio broadcasts. Computers, telephones, smartphones and digital televisions, to name a few, are all components of ICT, and the list is growing daily.

But today, ICT is more than just a list of components. It is an all-encompassing system, and this where the true power and potential of ICT lies.

Many businesses are able to easily adapt and use the tools that are already out there to enhance their businesses and reach wider markets, but others need more specialized solutions. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in providing customized ICT solutions for almost any type of business.

Potential challenges to adoption

While ICT has created many opportunities for businesses and individuals, it has also come with a fair amount of challenges. If not properly researched and applied, ICT can pose a huge security risk for companies. The digitization of data, combined with an ever-expanding global network, has led to new levels of cybercrime and increased identity, intellectual property, and information theft.

Poorly designed ICT systems can also be highly frustrating for users and can hamper effective business management. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that when you are considering ICT systems, like biometrics, wireless broadband solutions, video conferencing or cloud storage, you do your due diligence and contract reputable companies.

Good business communication tools and the effective use of information technology can enable businesses of all sizes to increase their efficiency and productivity, and allow them to reach far wider markets than ever before.

Here are five information technology tools that your business needs to survive, and thrive, in the modern economy.

5 Tools to invest in

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

This can make your daily business life simpler and more efficient by allowing you access to shared online resources, like storage and apps. It also enables you to access information stored in the cloud from anywhere, and means that your employees are no longer office bound.

Social Media

Although social media and ICT are conceptually different, they are intertwined and both very relevant to business success today.

Social media has changed the way we shop, communicate and interact. You can love it, or loath it, but you can’t ignore it. Social media is here to stay and every business, big or small, has to have a social media presence.

This is one of the best tools to keep you connected to your existing client base and to attract new business. When managed correctly, social media enables you to increase your profile in the business world, and control the image you present to the public. It also allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what is trending around the world and spot new business opportunities.

Discussion forums are also a good way of connecting with your customers, business partners and employees.

Online Conferencing

Online conferencing has eliminated the need for lengthy, expensive business trips. It is now quick and easy to connect with your business partners and customers worldwide.

Having a well-supported web conferencing platform and network infrastructure is essential for any business that wants to be a global player.

Before installing a video conferencing system it is important to understand your needs, and to research the products on the market, so that you can make a choice that will enhance your business and communication capabilities.

Mobile Technology

Almost everyone has access to a smartphone or tablet. These are great gadgets for most people, but for businesses they are essential tools. Mobile technology allows you to do business anytime, anywhere. You, and your employees, are no longer office bound or restricted to office hours.

Investing in mobile technology can increase productivity and collaboration among employees and it can enhance your ability to do business worldwide.

Enterprise Content Management

Being organized is one of the cornerstones of any successful business. It’s useless to have masses of information if it’s not at your fingertips. In this age of technology, you cannot afford to have information stored in dusty old boxes or filing cabinets.

Your business information needs to be properly organized and easily accessible in order for it to be useful to your company. With enterprise content management, all your physical files and data can be captured, managed, stored and saved in one easily accessible location.

For companies that have been in businesses for many years, this can be a daunting and time-consuming task and it is worth employing a skilled information technology technician to facilitate this process. Information at your fingertips is a potential goldmine for your business.

Information and Communication Technology is the face of the future and any business that wants to stay ahead of the curve, and ahead of the competition, needs to know how to use ICT to their advantage.