Personal Computers in Business
Personal computers are relatively compact devices designed for hands-on use to improve personal performance for many of the tasks commonly performed in the workplace. Types of personal computers include tablets, mobile devices, notebook or laptop computers, and desktop computers. These machines increase workplace productivity and effectiveness. The use of personal computers in business environments combined with advances in communication and information technology has changed how workers worldwide do their jobs. Personal computers allow many employees the option of working outside the traditional office setting through telecommuting, virtual teams, and virtual workplaces; options that have advantages for both the individual employee and the organization.
Keywords Application Software; Information System; Network; Personal Computer; Telework; Virtual Team; Virtual Workplace; Workstation
Business Information Systems: Personal Computers in Business
Information technology in general has changed the way businesses operate with employees and consumers. Digital networks allow for instant communication via e-mail, text messaging, and phone, helping to bring the vast expanses of the planet together in a single global marketplace. Businesses can now implement precise inventory controls, offer around the clock customer service, and produce goods and provide services at lower costs to a larger market. All of these advancements have followed from the advent of the personal computer and the microprocessor.
Personal computers are compact devices that are designed for hands-on use to improve personal performance on the tasks commonly used in the workplace. As opposed to larger mid-size, mainframe, and supercomputers, personal computers are tailored for individual use.
Categories of Personal Computers
There are several general categories of personal computers.
- The desktop computer is the original form of the personal computer. The keyboard and display unit sit on top of a desk or table. These components are linked by cables to the processing unit, which sits either on or below the desk.
- A second category of personal computer is the notebook or laptop computer. These devices are designed for portability, with the keyboard, display unit, and main processing components all integrated into a single unit.
- Tablet personal computers are even more compact and lighter. These machines come in various shapes and sizes depending on their purpose. The iPad, manufactured by Apple, is a popular tablet computer model.
- Another category of personal computers comprises handheld computers, including mobile devices. Also known as smartphones, they represent one of the most ubiquitous examples of personal computing. Advancement in mobile device technology have resulted in smartphones being able to implement all the functions of a laptop or desktop computer. They also function as phones, GPS devices, cameras, and video cameras.
Personal Computers in the Workplace
In the mid-20th century, computers were large, cumbersome things that existed only in the realm of big business and scientific research. For the most part, correspondence and technical writing was hand-written or produced on electric or manual typewriters. This workflow was forever altered by the introduction of the word processor. These machines allowed documents to be written and edited electronically.
Evolving Business Capabilities
The capabilities of those early computers pale in comparison to the capabilities that are housed today within our personal computers. The introduction of the personal computer to the workplace has changed forever the way that we do work. Modern computer software is limited only by the imagination and is capable of performing innumerable tasks related to word processing, data analysis, photography, audio recording, and digital imaging.
Computer imaging and photography software enable artists to create more detailed drawings to illustrate a book or document. Spreadsheet applications can perform various types of data analysis. Personal productivity software can help people keep track of their calendars, schedules, meetings, and appointments. Project managers use software to track tasks and oversee complicated projects.
Networked personal computers allow colleagues worldwide to collaborate in real time.
The use of personal computers in business, combined with advancements in information technology, has changed how work is done around the world. As discussed above, today's information systems allow workers to do their jobs more efficiently and transmit information faster than ever before. In addition, this technology allows many employees the option of working outside the traditional office setting through telecommuting, virtual teams, and virtual workplaces.
One of the advantages of using personal computers at work is telework (also known as telecommuting). This is a situation in which an employees work outside of the traditional office. In telework, the transmission of data and documents occurs via the Internet. Communication is conducted electronically through e-mail, instant messaging, telephone, and teleconferencing.
The vast majority of office workers—and workers in numerous other industries—use some version the personal computer. Most office employees use a personal computer to input data and information, create and manipulate documents, or perform other tasks. Dealings with clients often occur either over the phone, by e-mail, via videoconferencing, or instant messaging. These tasks can be done just as well from a home office as from a centralized organizational office. With a personal computer and access to modern information technology, it is not even necessary have face-to-face meetings. Through the use of the Internet voicemail messages can be delivered not only to individuals, but also to large groups of people. Audio and videoconferencing capabilities combined with electronic document exchange capabilities often can eliminate the need for local or long-distance travel to meetings. Similarly, video teleconferencing allows the participants not only to be heard at remote locations, but to be seen as well. This technology is often combined with electronic bulletin boards that allow users to post documents...
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