INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

COURSE: ECONOMICS AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INTRODUCTION
            There is widespread research interest in information and communication technologies (ICTS). According to Crede & Mensell (1998), ICTS are crucially important for sustainable development in developing countries. Thioune (2003) notes that for the past two decades most developed countries have witnessed significant changes that can be traced to ICTS. These multi-dimensional changes have been observed in almost all aspects of life: economics, education, communication and travel.

In a technology-drawn society, getting information quickly is important for both sender and receiver ICTS have made it possible to quickly find and distribute information. Thoiune (2003) indicate that many initiatives have been taken at the international level to support Africa’s efforts to develop a communication infrastructure and these efforts are designed to enable African countries, including Nigeria to find faster ways to achieve durable and sustainable development.
            Helmut (1998) cited by Akpore (1999), stated that of the technology changes that have influenced our lives in recent years, information technology (IT) has had the greatest impact.
This will continue at least until the end of the first half of the first century, when other major technological breakthroughs in the area of new materials, Biotechnology, or energy, may provide entirely new ways of living.
            Annan (2002) notes that the information society is a way for human capacity to be expanded, built up, nourished, and liberated by giving people access to tools and technologies with the education and training to use them effectively. There is a unique opportunity to connect and assist those living in the poorest and most isolated regions of the world. Informatization of society is a major hurdle that most nations especially developing countries are encountering. The information society or information age is a phenomenon that began after 1950, which brings challenges as we seek to integrate and explain the universe to print and multimedia sources.
            These technologies include: computer system, internet/electronic mail (e-mail), mobile phone and fax machine.

COMPUTER SYSTEM:- Computers were originally used by scientists for calculating numbers, and have gradually become useful in offices and industries. In recent times, simplified models that can be used by almost everybody have become common in schools and homes for accomplishing many varied tasks and applications (Madu 2000).
            Tapohund (1999) lists the uses that computers are now commonly put to correcting letters, and reports, printing books, newspapers and magazines, drawing pictures and diagrams, handling financial records in an organization.

INTERNET: The internet is a global collection of many types of computers and computer networks that are linked together. It is increasingly becoming the solution to many information problem, exchange and marketing. (Adesanya, 2002). Internet pays significant role in agriculture economy and business. Woherem (2000) states that with internet connectivity, one can do business all over the world without physical contact with the buyer or the need for a business intermediary.

MOBILE PHONE: The impact of mobile phone in the economy activities of nations, business and small entrepreneurs is phenomenal according to Marcelle (2000) the availability of this new technology has been reshaping the material basis of the society as well as bringing about a profound restructuring of economic, political and cultural relations among states Nigeria is not an exception.
            Oji-Okoro (2006) says that for large business. It is a means of providing service that leads to an increase in profits.

FAX MACHINE: Telefacsimile system permits the transaction of images (photos, printed images, maps, drawings) and their preproduction on paper at a remote receiver. This fax system is widely available; most organizations have at least on fax machine.

DEFINITION OF TERMS
Information: These are facts provided or learned about something or someone. It is what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things. Information is available because it can affect behavior, a decision or an outcome.

Communication: Is the imparting or exchange of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

Technology: Is the collection of tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures used by humans.
            It is also the purposeful application of information in the design, production and utilization of goods and services and in the organization of human activities.
            The information and communication technology (ICT) sector has been a pioneer and a powerful catalyst in addressing the needs and interest of low-income communities in developing countries. But it was not always so only in the past twenty years or so has a self-conscious appreciation for the ICT sector’s role of expanding economic opportunity emerged.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
            One of the principal reasons is that much has changed in a short time in the technology sector. 20 years are more like five generations. In the 1980s, “Universal access” was a goal, but not the reality of the legacy PTTS, an acronym for the firm providing “post, telephone, and telegraph” service. Smile if you wish; the words and services to sound anachronistic so are the technological and business contexts.
            The PTTs, comprising much of the ICT sector of their day, were landline-based and, to a large extent, government-owned and managed services were expensive and in most parts of the world had deteriorated to the point where quality could be described as atrocious if it has ever been good. Data Network capability was non-existent. Technology innovation to say nothing of business model innovation was slow. The name of the game was rent-seeking; that is extracting every dollar of revenue as possible from sunk-cost infrastructure, and as a means to that end, suppressing any new potentially competitive technology, service, or business model, often using the power of the state for the purpose.
            The rate of technological innovation in ICT has accelerated dramatically and the sector today is orders of magnitude larger than it was 20 years ago. And it encompasses a more diverse universe of players than ever before. Today, the sector includes hardware, software, the internet, technology and content, application and support service provided by entities ranging from corporate giants to garage entrepreneurs to individual developers and open-source Networks. Relevant content and applications are integral parts of the value proposition and the “network effect” is crucial-technology only increases productivity when lots of people share access.
            As a result, collaboration has become a key business strategy. Some of the largest and most successful firms have established themselves as “keystones” within vast “business ecosystem” in which independent partners, other firms and even users provided content, applications, and services, thereby increasing the value of their technologies. This report, while acknowledging the incredible diversity in the nature and size of firms in the ICT industry will focus on such large firms whether national, regional or multinational.

THE 21ST CENTURY ICT IN BUSINESS
            The role of ICT in our business and society in the 21st century will be in many aspects different from the current role of IT considering the development of IT within organizations in the past it is easy to speculate about the importance of ICT for the functioning of organization in the future. Although they may be differences in speed for the different industries and individual companies, ICT, increasingly penetrates “the heart of organizations.
            In the seventies IT was but a means of mechanization. Companies developed their ‘bread and butter systems’. Bookkeeping and payroll-administrations were the common application of IT.
            In the eighties organizations became aware of the need to integrate their applications; the different data-definitions for instance ‘employee’ in the separately developed applications for payroll.
            In the nineties organization became aware of the fact that ICT was a means for drastic improvement of their business process. ‘Business process redesign’ became the new buzzword, characterizing the drastic impact of ICT or organizational design.
            Today, ICT has a growing impact on systems, skills, structure and staff and on the shared values of the organization. Undoubtedly, in the coming decade, the use of ICT will prove to be a strategic dimension of business development and it will drastically impact the style of management.

THE ROLES OF ICT IN BUSINESS
Unbound from the structures of the PTT days, ICT has become the foundation of every sector of every economy everywhere. The reasons for this are, by now, fairly well-known, but demand brief repetition here.
Information and communication technologies:
·        Reduce transaction costs and thereby improve productivity.
·        Offer immediate connectivity – voice, data, visual – improving efficiency, transparency and accuracy.
·        Substitute for other, more expensive means of communicating and transacting, such as physical travel.
·        Increase choice in the market place and provide access to otherwise unavailable goods and services.
·        Widen the geographic scope of potential markets.
·        Channel knowledge and information of newly produced goods and services to man.
·        ICT enables organizations to decrease costs and increase capabilities.

Productivity: Technology appreciations such as relational database technology computer-aided designing word processing, spreadsheets and other software programming, increase productivity of business.

Monitoring: ICT is used for monitoring areas of the company that are not utilizing resources efficiently, for instance, Dell made use of real-time inventory and supply monitoring to produce only that number of computer system that were demanded by Dell customers, reducing the cost of overproduction.

Business Performance Management: According to bestpricecomputers.co.uk, BPM is defined as a management culture which helps business to optimize their performance by analyzing process using applications like OLAE (Online Analytical Processing) and EIS (Executive information System).

E-Commerce: E-Commerce is buying and selling services and goods over the internet. Online operations reduce the time and personnel required for business processes. It also reduces cost in areas like labour, document preparation, and telephoning and mail preparation.

Advertising: Information and communication technology has introduced several new methods of advertizing particularly through the internet. Business increases their income through this method of advertizing.
            These attributes underlie important part ICT have played in firm and macro-level growth. At the macro level, various studies have shown significant, positive impact on GDP from information technology, telecommunications and mobile telecommunications investment, in both developed and developing countries. At the level of the firm, World Bank surveys of approximately 50 developing countries suggest that “firms using ICT see faster sales growth, higher productivity and faster employment growth”.
            The attributes listed above are also critical in expanding individual economic opportunity, enabling people to enhance their knowledge and skills; identify, apply and quality for better-paying jobs; use their disposable income more wisely manage their own business effectively, and tap into broader markets for their goods and services. In developing countries, ICTs offer tremendous potential to eliminate or at least work around a number of critical obstacles to economic growth.

ICT HELP ADDRESS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY OBSATCLES LIKE:
1.      Geographic Isolation: ICTs collapse distance and time, overcoming geographic isolation and substituting for expensive travel and lost work time. For example, ICTs can facilitate information exchange, long-distance money transfers, tax returns and other governmental business, even medical diagnosis.
2.      Lack of competition and high process for consumers: Faced with few options in the marketplace, the poor often pay more, in absolute term for what they buy. Broad, real time access to market information and transaction capability through telephone and the internet effectively increase competition allowing consumers to maximize their incomes and driving reduction in process over time.
3.      Lack of information and low prices for producers: The internet and mobile phones can give farmers, fishermen, and other local producers access to market information for multiple, competing marketplace, enabling them to get the best prices for their goods.
4.      Legal exclusion: A mobile phone is no substitute for clear title to land but a mobile phone with camera can document that specific people live in a particular place and this can facilitate access to land title validation. We are also seeing water and electricity payment made by mobile phone used to document and serve as proxy for legal status.
5.       Political voice:  Mobile phones, the internet and text messages are all now tools of knowledge acquisition and political empowerment. Repressive governments are deeply concerned that these tools are in the hands of the disenfranchised, as they are proving to be powerful means by which to organize, amplify and transmit needs and demands, both domestically and internationally.
6.      Social capital: Maintaining strong family ties is critical to mental and physical well-being especially while working away from home. ICTs allow people to pursue economic opportunity wherever they find it (or at least, they reduce the social or familiar cost of doing so).

USES OF ICT IN BUSINESS
1.      Promotion and orientation: When customers need a product or service they usually orient themselves, which suppliers are able to deliver the product or service under what condition. Suppliers therefore offer customers information about their products and services through different channels like advertising in papers commercials on television, information document or a conversation between (an employee of) the supplier and the customer.
ICT enables new channels for this orientation. The internet and other electronic channels like electronic kiosk are new ways for the exchange of product information. Video phone via the internet will support remote sales conversations between customers and companies on the internet a new type of companies emerges in the role of intermediate between suppliers and customers. These intermediates collect the information about a certain type of product of all suppliers and offer this to the customer. The customer has now an overview of the products of all suppliers. This makes it easy for the customer to compare the different offers.
2.      Buying and selling: After orientation the customers chooses one or more potential suppliers for the delivery of a product or service and asks for a quotation or offering. The customer uses these offerings to decide which supplier may deliver the product or service.
ICT also offers new ways for buying and selling, internet, electronic kiosk and call center are currently the new sales channels call centers and internet will emerge to one channel with video-phone via internet. The supplier can offer his regular customers access through an extranet. The extranet is used for special offer and services for the regular customers.
3.      Production and delivery: The supplier produces the product and delivers it to the customer. The support of ICT will totally change the production process. An internet with groupware and workflow applications supports the co-operation of employees. Electronic message switching is used for the communication between the automated processes of customers and suppliers. ICT will help to organize a flexible computer-controlled delivery process. This makes is easy to change the pattern of co-operation between employees. The result is the end of the current conveyor-belt mass-prod-action system. ICT supports an agile organization, which is able to deliver the customer tailored products and services by simply planning and executing the right process pattern for the production and delivery of every individual product.
4.      Creation of awareness: - ICT is used to create awareness of products to the general public through advertisement on radio, newspaper, television, internet etc.
5.      Decision making: ICT aids decision making in that an often quoted saying that says “knowledge is power” so by having key information in the hands of managers and decision makers they can make informed decisions and ambiguity is lessened.
6.      Provides information for staff: ICT helps employees and managers have information at the finger tips via business letters, reports and memos or sales figure spreadsheets or customers databases.
7.      Maintains business records: ICT can help keep updated records on employees, competitors and customers.
8.      Provides effective communication: ICT and all the communication devices it offers, allows people all over the world to keep in touch no matter the location or time zone. This is the essence of the global market and the 24/7 world we live in.
9.      Through the help of webcams companies can hold meetings in different location without the inconvenience and cost of having to travel. E.g. many UK-based Australian companies such as National Australia Bank use video conferencing to hold meeting across the hemispheres.
10. It provides e-commerce: It is the act of buying and selling online. E-bay is one of the most famous examples of e-commerce. Buying and selling via websites offers great advantage to both customers and firms as saving can be passed on to the people who buy the product making goods and services cheaper.

BENEFIT/ADVANTAGES OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS.
1.      Speeds the sending of information: communication technology tools like electronic mail and text messaging systems speed up the sending of information within and outside of the organization. Also with the use of decentralized computing systems, sharing of information. Within an organization is very fast because all data is accessed from central unit “Database” and it is shared across different departments within an organization.
2.      Improves organizational communication: Communication technology helps in the creation of a shared information environment in an organization. Organization information is organized in one central location, allowing any one access that information as they need. Also technologies like electronic mail, will enable low level employees communicate with the manager without any need of having a dedicated time for meeting. This allows information to flow easily from the bottom to the top without any barriers.
3.      Speeds decision making in an organization: since communication technology speeds the transfer of information employees in an organization can easily consult each other and analyze information in a shortest period and make a decision. Also with the use of [OLAP] on line analytical processing employees can perform queries on a database to get data about a specific client or matter and a quick decision basing on the data retrieved from the database about that specific client or matter.
4.      Increase participation in organization process:Every employee will have a specific task to complete, and all this can be manager. So all parties will be active since their work is seeing made simple by easy communication employees who are shy to ask for advice and help will use tools like electronic mail or instant text messaging services to ask for help from their workmates within the organization, they can also use the same medias to participate in decision making and creative design challenges.
5.      Supports open discussion: Most organization has used the internet to create organizational forums where members to the organization can discuss about various issues and get a solution. In this case members can suggest on areas of improvement within the organization.
6.      Influences the way people interact in organization: Let’s look at an organization were you only see the operations manager tune a week, by the time he come, everyone will need to speak to them and they will have less time for each of you. But with electronic mail, you can simple draft an email and send it to your superior or workmate. In this case they don’t have to stop what they are doing to attend to your matter, but you will get an instant replay and continue with your work.
7.      Quality and accuracy: Machines are capable of producing the same standard of product over and over again which reduces human error and therefore reducing waste.
8.      Lower Labour Cost:  Machines and technology can replace some human tasks and over time this will make some employees redundant. This saves the business paying wages for labour.
9.      It helps the organization to do more work in a shorter amount of time. It also improves a company’s efficiency by developing automated process to take burden off your staff. In turn your employees are free to work on their things while the computer runs their reports, creates queries, tracks projects and monitor financials.
10. ICT protects the electronics information of an organization from being hacked according to an “Article in Science Daily”.
11. Improvement in Agricultural Products: Due to the fact that ICT is being used in industries to produce goods and services, it will help improve the agricultural product as production will increase, quality will as well increase.
12. Customer Relation: it helps the producer and the consumer to relate, thereby making the producer closer to its customers without physical contact.
13. Increased Income: Because machines are being used at the workplace leading to more productivity and sales it will cause the income of the organization to increase.
14. It helps in the creation of innovation.
15. ICT makes the mobility of goods and services easy and fast to the final consumers or too far away countries.
16. It creates business relationships between states.
17. New industries: As well as providing a boost to existing industries, such as manufacturing and shipping, heavy adoption of ICT has spawned new industries all of its own.
18. Increase Performance: ICT helps to increase the performance of staffs in a company.
19. Cost reduction.
20. Knowledge management.

DISADVANTAGES OF ICT IN BUSINESS
1.            Poor substitute for face-to-face (FTF) communication:- Since employees are using machines to communicate they let less time to talk to each other and know each other better. This has resulted into increased bad relationships at work even though the shy ones will benefit from this technology, but they will also be denied the chance to learn how to interact with others.
2.            Difficulty Training Employees:- If an organization deploys a new communication and information technology system, they will have to pay an extra fee to train employees in the organization to use that technology effectively. Sometimes some employees will not learn as fast as others which might lead to job losses.
3.            Not Safe:- Since information has been centralized under one database it exposed to people with wrong intension within the organization. Also information can be attacked by a hacker or a virus and all data will be lost in a minute.  So the organization must pay an extra cost to keep this information safe.
4.            Expensive:- It can be very expensive to install a new communication technology system in a very big organization. Let’s say that an organization has over 50 employees and they want them to access information from a centralized location. They will have to create a strong database which will handle all the queries made by these employees in a minute as well as they have to buy a computer for each of these employees.
5.            As technology improves, tasks that were formally performed by human employees are now carried out by ICT devices. Automated telephone answering system have replaced live receptionist in many organizations, this leads to elimination of jobs and in some cases, alienation of clients.

DRAW BACKS OF ICT IN BUSINESS.
1.            Financial Cost:- The initial outlay of buying of a new equipment is normally expensive as well as maintenance cost.
2.            Demoralize Staff:- Employee’s motivation may suffer if part of their job is replaced by ICT. This de-skilling of their job may make workers feel they are vulnerable to being made redundant.
3.            Breakdowns:- Machinery and equipment may suffer breakdown which will affect production.
4.            Resistance to Change:- When introducing a new technology employees may feel threatened or may not wish to learn something new. This can create tension. Also there will be training issues that need to be addressed.
CHALLENGES TO BUSINESS FROM THE USE ICT
a.      There is a danger of systems breakdown and possible loss of information.
b.      It is difficult to keep information secure when doing business electronically. Competitors may gain access to important information.
c.      Computer systems are always in danger of being affected by virus.
d.      Customers and marketers do not have the technology needed to do business in this way.
e.      Internet technology may allow global companies to dominate business.
f.       There are still legal and other technical questions to be resolved about international electronic transactions.
g.      Companies and individuals receive large quantities of unwanted communications, known as electronic junk mail of spam.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN CHOOSING A METHOD OF COMMUNICATION.
1.      The message: The nature of the message or information. If it is a long message, then written communication would be better because it can be read several times by the recipient.
2.      Urgency: If it is important that the message is delivered quickly then a speedy method such as telephone or email should be chosen.
3.      Confidentiality: If the content needs to be kept secret then a private meeting should be chosen or a message sent by courier.
4.      Records: Sometimes having a copy of the communication and proof that it was not sent and received is important. Then a method such as letter, email, fax, or registered mail should be used, if it is important that no record is kept, then a private meeting should so be held.
5.      Cost:  A business should choose the method of communication that carnes the lowest cost while still delivering  the message effectively.
6.      Timing: If the time of delivery of communication is very important then a method such as courier may have to be chosen.
7.      Destination: Some forms of communication are suited mainly to local destinations while others can service almost any part.
8.      Feedback: If feed backs is needed from the receiver or it is a series of exchange is needed then email would be better than regular mail.
9.      Legal Requirement: If there is a dispute with another business, then formal registered letters may be sent to them to ensure that there is a record and also to provide proof of delivery. Certain contracts will always be in written form. For example, the purchase of property and insurance policies.
BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.
On many occasion, when people communicate, they are not useful. There are many reasons why their communication may have failed. There are referred to as barriers to communication. For example:
a.      Not listening: If the receiver of the message is not listening to the message. This may happen if for example the sender and the receiver are angry at one another.
b.      A poorly composed message: perhaps being too long, too technical, unclear, poorly translated or in some way difficult to understand.
c.      Feedback: If the receiver needs to give feedback to the sender but has no way of doing so then the communication will breakdown.
d.      Timing: The message may be sent too late for the receiver to act on it or at time. When the receiver is very busy and unable to deal with the communications.

DATA PROTECTION ACT 1988
Many organizations both commercial and non-commercial collect and store information on computers about individuals. Several problems may arise for their individual:
·        A persons privacy might be violated
·        A person may start receiving junk mails.
·        Information may be passed to who have no right to it.
·        Information about them maybe incorrect of out of data.
The data protection act 1988 was passed to protect individuals when information is kept on a computer about them.
Terms used in the Act:
Data subject: this is an individual about whom personal information is kept.
Data controller: is the person who controls the use of personal information held about individuals on a computer.
Data processor: is a person or organization which process personal information held on a computer for a data controller.
EFFECTS OF ICT IN BUSINESS
Introducing ICT into modern business can have both a positive and negative impact on workers and the organization itself.

A. FOR EMPLOYEES
1.            Redundancy:- ICT and Machines can do many tasks or activities that employees can do, and they can work 24/7 without needing a break.
2.            Retraining:- New ICT that is introduced into an organization will mean training for employees in how to use the new technology.
3.            Flexible working:- New technology offers the potential of home working or teleworking. This means employees may be able to work out with their normal workplace but maintain an ICT link with their supervisors.
B.  FOR EMPLOYERS
1.         Delayering:- Departments may merge or be reduced, this is added to a reduction in workers and promote posts may end up restructuring the organization and the removal of levels for management.
2.         Narrowing of span of control: With fewer employees, and therefore fewer subordinates, the span of control (the number of people who report to a manager) may marrow.
3.         Decentralization:- Improved technology offers films the opportunity to move decision making from headquarters to local branches which normally results in being more responsive and being able to cater for local needs. This is especially important for multinals operating in different countries with different customs, traditions and cultures. 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ICT IN ENTERPRISES
            The question of the significance of ICT for business and society is not only an economic issue; it is just as important in a business management context. Information and communication technologies not only pay an essential role for entire industries and sectors, they are equally important within individual enterprise. As part of the ‘Life to study’, the 1,559 ICT executives were also asked about the strategic importance of ICT in their company.

STRATEGIC RELEVANCE OF ICT TODAY AND IN 5 YEARS TIME
            A total of 79% of the executive rate the strategic importance of ICT for the success of their company asVery high or high; in the United Kingdom, it is 87 percent, and 77 percent in Germany, or slightly more than three-quarters of the importance of ICT to rise even further. Internationally, around 84 percent of the surveyed executives states that they expect (strongly) in their company in the next five years.

·                    ICT and Competitive Ability:
According to the executives ICT will be particularly important with respect to competitive ability in the fields of “increasing performance”, “cutting costs”, and “knowledge management”.

·                    Great Significant for Corporate Development:
ICT executives believe that the greatest influence that ICT will have on their enterprise’s ability to remain competitive in the future will be by increasing performance (72%) and achieving cost savings (70%) through ICT, as well as knowledge management (69%). In this connection, the participants of the think tank noted that the debate on building competitiveness must not be limited purely to cost-savings and exploiting the cost-cutting options that are available and neither should ICT be limited to the status of a tool for reducing costs. At the heart of competitive skills and ability lies the enterprise’s innovative capabilities and those are often also the result of its use of ICT.
“ICT is often viewed merely as a tool to cut costs but in reality, it is the innovation potential opened up by ICT that determines an enterprise’s future competitiveness”. (Professor Roman Beck, Goethe University Frankfurt)

·              Influence of ICT on Innovation and Competitive ability:
A total of more than two thirds of those questioned (67%) expect that ICT will greatly influence the competitive ability of their company in the future with respect to “Innovation”. In the USA, 76% of those who took part in the survey share this opinion.
This opinion is obviously shared by the ICT executive in the big enterprises. Overall, more than two thirds of the executives surveyed (67%) believe that it is through the lever “innovation” that ICT will have the greatest influence on the enterprise’s future competiveness. In the United State, the survey believes this; and in Spain and France, the innovation potential of ICT and the significant influence of this area on competitiveness are also acknowledged: Innovation is seen as one of the top three (3) areas with a (very) strong influence on competiveness. In contrast, German ICT executives believe that the biggest effect that ICT has on their enterprise is the area of flexibility, efficient process design and customer services.
Enterprise mobility, i.e. the integration of ICT solutions in the enterprise is one of the key future trends in IT (Information Technology). For three in ten executives (mentioned by 30%) mobility is rated particularly high in Spain (30%) and France (31%) but in Germany, the United Kingdom and United States, mobility is mentioned by more than one in four of those surveyed as one of the top 3 future fields in CT.

·              Significant of ICT at Individual Job level
A job micro level ICT is also rated as very important: in total more than three quarters of all IT users surveyed (77%) state that ICT plays a decisive or very important role for their everyday work. In Germany, 81 percent of IT users hold this opinion. Seventy-nine, 79 percent of all IT users state that they depend on the internet and telecommunications for their present jobs.
The new technology changed the way they work, where they work, and how they work. For example, one in four of the IT users (28%) state that they can no longer keep their professional and private lives strictly separate. In Spain and United Kingdom, 30 percent said that this separation was no longer possible. One in five (21%) often works from home, nearly as many (19%) frequently work while on road, e.g. at the airport or on train. Around 42 percent of all IT users surveyed are convinced that mobile working brings or would bring career benefits – an opinion shared by one in two of ICT users in Great Britain. For every second user (54%) it is important or very important to be able to access the necessary information and programs anywhere and at all times, i.e. to have mobile access to the programs and information. The significance of mobile work is particularly high in Spain where around 70% of the users surveyed state that mobile work was especially important.


SIGNIFICANCE OF ICT IN BUSINESS
To compete in the global market place, companies use websites to provide ordering information and product list online, allowing monetary exchange with customers, websites also allow companies to receive valuable feedback on customer needs and ideas for improvement. Through e-mail, faxes, and telecommunication devices, business generate greater accessibility through almost instantaneous communications.
·        Business corporations maximize their commercial advantage by making the right use of IT tools. For instance, Michael Dell, founder of Dell Inc. introduced the online selling concept for personal computers. Today, customers around the globe order Dell products from the comfort of their homes via the internet.

·        Business Software
Organizations use different software packages for variety of tasks and activities.
1.      Word Processing:it is used in business to create and type up business letters, memos and reports.
2.      Spreadsheets: are used to calculate financial information such as sales figures, cash budgets and also to create bar charts and graphs from such data to make any findings or results easier to understand.
3.      Databases: are used in organization to keep records of employees such as their address, date of birth and medical information. Customers’ records may also be kept in order to build up a picture of what the customer orders and regularly buys.This could aid targeting of future products of appropriate customers. Also linking a database to a word document, Mail-merge makes standard letters feel more customized and personal.
4.      Desktop Publishing: software is used to create professional newsletters, staff magazines, books or other publications
5.      Presentation Software is mainly used by business people to communicate or present information on new products or market research findings to customers, clients, employees or management. It can be used for training purpose also.

CONCLUSION:
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has done a lot of upgrading in the various companies of the world. As a matter of fact, firms using ICT see faster sales growth, higher productivity and faster employment growth. The roles it has played in business cannot be overemphasized. It has helped underdeveloped countries develop their business enterprise; it has brought close relationship between countries in different parts of the world. More business software should be put into business activities to ensure high productivity.
Because it helps to improve the standard of living of people in the society, small businesses in undeveloped places try to ICT into their business.
ICT also helps in creating new innovation and this help in developing undeveloped countries. Though ICT has its demerits but its merits outnumber the demerits.

REFERENCES
·        Prof. dr. D.B.B. Rijsenbris Life Studies (Life Report and Flash)
·        Ehow (Driven by Demand Media) ©1999 – 2015
·        Post from Karelika Ramey in Techucation, Nov. 30, 2012.
·        Information and communication technologies for development in Africa by Ramat Mulo Throune.
·        Anna, K (2002) information and communication development: information society summit p.7
·        Akpore, A.S (1999). Basie Librarianship: modern technologies in information work. Owerri ;takan publisher, pp 106-108
·        Crede, A, and mansell, R (1998) Knowledge societies in a nutshell: information technologies for sustainable development. Ottawa Canada: IDRC.
·        Oji-Okoro, M. (2006) mobile telephony and sustainable livelihoods on Nigeria: case studies from south east Nigeria.
·        Monday Obiadjeuwe Obgonna, Delta state university, Abraka Nigeria follow.

·        Esoswo Fransisca Ogbonna. Delta state University, Abraka Nigeria.
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