There is a popular saying about how the solution in stopping the bad things is found in the effort of good men to never stop doing good things. The Internet, like many other technologies introduced to mankind before it, was, when viewed in a particular perspective, an evil or a harbinger of bad things. Despite the good things that the internet made possible to happen en route to altering human lifestyle in a positive way, there are still those who posit the idea that the Internet will do more harm than good.
That is what this paper is set to disprove and argue against. The Internet is indeed a very powerful tool, and how it changed the different aspects of everyday lifestyle goes to show the potency of this new medium of information dissemination and acquisition, and how the accessibility and use of this newfound technology and newfound capability is constantly reshaping human social life in different echelons.
An excerpt from a conversation between a reporter and a lady from Tallahassee who was being asked by the reporter about the effects of the Internet in the life of a certain Joey, the woman replied, saying that the Internet ‘allowed him a freedom he’s never known before. Not only is he able to access information from his wheelchair, but most important, he has made new friends,’ (Canfield et al, 1998, pg 37). In the business sector, the Internet is also an important addition that contributed to the alteration of the business and economic landscape.
According to Welfens (2002), ‘one may expect that the internet will affect economic development in many crucial ways’; at least ‘from a theoretical perspective’ (pg 79), and business entities became cognizant of the potential of this tool and made sure that the use of such technology was successfully integrated in the manner by which business processes and procedures were undertaken. “Internet commerce has become the new frontier for businesses around the world’ beamed G. Winfield Treese (2002, pg 1) to open the first chapter of the book on Internet commerce.
The rest of the world may not be collectively and unequivocally speak of the same belief with the same fervor as did Treese; but definitely, there is sufficient reason why the world should have the same hope and perspective as Treese. Business thrives with the use and inside the Internet even with the presence and threat of particular groups of people like conspiracy theorists, cranks, the disaffected and anti-business activists which consider the internet as their natural home because of many different reasons that ultimately render what the groups of people in question do as futile, ineffective or isolated.
The vast network of threats created by these groups is neutralized using many different tools – the selective ability and exercise of the Internet users as well as technological protocols that provided a safeguard for those who use the internet and ply the information highway with intent of positive impact and positive usage of the new media tunnel. Indeed, the internet has created a new stage business entities; it’s a new way for everyone to share and exchange information, from price shifts and fashion styles.
At some degree, the internet has helped in the reduction of the cost for business dramatically via different ways that it affected the different aspects of businesses including but not limited to promotion, labor, and other logistical concerns. The internet even allowed business to run and operate sans the use of physical shops and office, and because of that many people open online shops instead of renting a place. The online market sector has created a new competition for traditional business.
In putting forward this outlook, this paper goes on to show about how it disagrees with the idea that it is difficult to see how business can respond towards creating a positive output via the use of the internet with the presence of such a vast network of threats in the internet as it is considered as the natural home of conspiracy theorists, cranks, the disaffected and anti-business activists. The advantages and disadvantages of the Internet in business – Businesses that rely on what the Internet can provide will see the advantages of the use of the Internet.
But just like everything else in this world, the Internet has its advantages and disadvantages. Jacobs et al (2003) defined the importance of the Internet by referring to it along with ‘allied information technologies’ which are now ‘reshaping the workplace in myriad ways… the internet as the further perfection of a triumphant capitalism, cutting costs, and building profits’ (pg 1), obviously hinting at the positive impact of the Internet on some business entities / organizations.
Welfens (2002) points out some of the good points that come out of integrating internet technology in the business, saying that the Internet ‘reduces transaction costs in markets’ (pg 79) primarily because of the absence of the need for previous amount of tangible resources since the Internet is inherently a digital technology that does not need paper, ink, folders and file cabinets for it to be effectively utilized. The internet addresses the problems of visibility.
Businesses can put websites that people from India to Portugal to Africa can see at the same time, for costs that is nowhere near the amount necessary for advertising costs to be able to reach the same impact and scope. Alongside online advertisement and marketing collateral presence is the giving of the power to consumers to buy online. The emergence of e-commerce strengthened some of the business types like package and parcel delivery services and customer support manpower agencies which companies outsource, usually from countries with cheaper labor costs.
Through the help of the internet, more options for market research study opened up, since there is a new way to reach the consumer and know how he or she feels about issues directly involving business groups and their operations. Even internal communications were strengthened because of the presence and use of the internet; bosses from different parts of the globe can now hold a conference without leaving their respective seats in their local offices so long as the Internet keeps all of them connected via video stream feeds and real time telephony systems, a communication means that is very expensive and costly during the pre-internet era.
The Internet also affected the ability of businesses to tap employees. Online job searches and online resumes makes job applicant scanning more organized and systematic, and job posts more visible and accessible to more people, improving the chances that the company receives an application from a prospective employee who has the potential to provide positive contribution to the company.
Disadvantages – Not everything that is connected with the Internet technology is positive. The internet will never be perfect and problem free, but the problems and hassles that go along with it can be reduced through consistent research and application of newfound approaches that reduces the ability of the technology to create harm. Still, the disadvantages of the Internet are a significant issue that needs to be addressed.
Welfens (2002) points out in his book on the Internet and the economics about how the internet is not directly a negative addition in the business tools that business entities use today; rather, it still has some problems that needs addressing and tweaking so that it can be more useful and help in the development of the different businesses that uses it. ‘There are problem with internet based transactions – security problems with payments being certainly the most crucial’ (pg 79).
This claim was supported by an ABC news article about how the Internet-based businesses collectively are one of the different business types that receives tons of consumer complaints. There are also problems about security measures and breaches of security protocols done by hackers and other systems specialists who has the ability to sabotage or disrupt internet-based segments of business operation, which at this degree, is immensely important and economically dangerous for those who are greatly exposed and vulnerable to this predicament.
Impact of Internet in the business world and how the changes introduced by the Internet changed the business landscape – By and all, the Internet has changed the manner by which business is undertaken, how business operates. The internet provided new ways that was impossible before for businesses to pursue, and in any business that relies on the internet, issues like reaching the consumers more and communicating with the public has been given a bigger leg space to maneuver.
Because of the Internet, buying and selling was easier, and the resources needed are easily and more conveniently purchased; the geographical factor that is previously considered as one of the problems in the business disappears with the use of internet, and the globalization and the international connection and presence of the business as well as the consumer becomes a reality even without the use of a passport and travel.
The Internet as a challenge and a chance for all the businesses – It cannot be easily dismissed that the problems stemming from the use of the internet that poses a threat to business is something that can be easily remedied or something that does not require serious attention. Even pre-internet business models always stress the importance of addressing seriously every possible source of problem and to make business operations as hassle free and problem free as possible.
But because of the potential that the internet brings to itself and to the business, the development and harnessing of the internet by business organizations now becomes less of a threat and more of a challenge and a chance for business groups to see who is brave enough to gamble on a technology that has already shown its ability to address problems focused on the former inability of businesses to effectively bridge distance and gap – both in production and operation lines as well as consumer-manufacturer tunnels previously disconnected and disjointed from each other.
The Internet is more than just an information highway; all roads lead and converge to the use of Internet, and at this very early stage of internet-driven business models, giving up on the Internet because of the disadvantages and the inherent problems it brings on the table and on the business equation will sooner or later reflect vastly on what businesses failed to do because of the attitude it showed and directed towards the use and integration of internet technology.
Conclusion – To say that the Internet is not tailor-fit and tailor-made for business success simply because of the presence of entities in it that may be a threat to the growth, development and operation of businesses is preposterous; on the contrary, the new economic trend was even renamed as the Internet economy- that is, an economy that is highly dependent on the impact of ‘new information and communication technologies (that) affect business activities’ (Burn et al, 2001, pg xiv).
Today there are two types of businesses that are in better position to corner their target market – those which merge traditional business designs with the Internet-influenced business models and those which are entirely created because of the emergence of the Internet technology, the perfect example would be e-bay, the online auction website that is one of the most successful dot. com businesses there is today.
Others like Treese point to the fact that the Internet is not to blame when things do not turn up well despite the introduction and use of the technology in the business operation because even with the fact that ‘internet commerce brings new technologies and new capabilities to business… the fundamental business problems are those that merchants have faced for hundreds of even thousands of years’ (pg 1).
When it comes to the point of discussion about the plus and minus points about the Internet, the smart and ideal approach to make is to not reject a particular tool simply because it is capable of producing something negative that can affect a person in a negative way; instead, humans are expected to design an action plan that is aimed at minimizing the tendencies of a particular tool to be disadvantageous and maximizes its potential so that its inherent advantages can be extracted and be used fully.
Business plans are no different from that, and most business enable themselves to be more cognizant to the inherent and potential disadvantages of the Internet when used in business not because they need a reason to shy away from this particular technology but instead they need the information that can help them design a better plan to make the business procedures more safe from the hazards and other ill-effects of the Internet. Even with the use of the internet in the case of US market gains in 2000, there was just a meager one percent increase in overall sales (Welfens, 2002, pg 97).
What does this mean? This means that there is still room for improvement; that people should realize that the internet is a fairly young technology and tool that still has some rough edges that needs polishing (Welfens, 2002, pg 97). The one percent increase is not an evidence of how the internet is not helping in the business sector, it is the evidence of the potential of what gains lies in the future if the internet is harnessed better by making changes that can offset the factors that makes the internet technology not as productive as everyone hoped for in the past.
Treese et al (2002) defends this position, saying that ‘although what is now the Internet began more than 30 years ago, only in the past few years have we seen significant use of the Internet for commerce. The explosive growth of the Internet has been accompanied by claims of business revolution, ways to ‘make money fast working out of your home,’ and even the end of the nation-state,’ (pg 1).
The internet is never inherently bad nor inherently good; it is flexible and can be easily manipulated, and when manipulated correctly can provide assistance to businesses that can contribute significantly in the different aspects of business growth. Business entities should not be afraid of the Internet.
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