September 9, 2013
Role of Technology
Technology and information systems are different though work toward the same goal of applying information technology to business activities. Most people use these terms interchangeably, however both are different and have a role to play in the retail environment. This paper will discuss the role of technology and its impact on a retail business and the customer.
Information Technology Information technology is difficult to define because it has become multi-faceted. There is special language and acronyms such as supply chain management for procurement, customer relationship management for customer insights, and enterprise resource planning how a business uses assets (SCM, CRM, and ERP). These describe solutions and processes for increasing productivity and profitability for businesses today according to Kristine Chin, (2003).
Information Systems An information system is a network of hardware and software that gathers, processes, stores and evaluates information for a defined purpose according to Rainer and Turbin, (2009). An businesses information technology architecture is a plan of information assets which make up the organization. The IT infrastructure consist of components, hardware such as computers, servers, CRM system, ERP system, firewall, and software applications.
Technology and Retail Business
There are many business models in retail from large companies operating domestically and internationally such as Walmart, McDonalds, and Target. Small businesses serving local communities such as GameXChange, Rodolph Brothers, Inc, and Classique Floors Inc run by people who took a chance on an innovative idea, all need technology in some form to run their business.
Information databases gather information in a constant flow from supplier, retailer, and customer creating a historical database which is useful for the business owner. Reports pulled from the database make the data valuable to make business decisions. For instance, a toy retailer using the same process as last year, buying toys conservatively for the coming season because the last season sales were down. However, the current season is strong and the store sells out of merchandise in 3 weeks. It is too late to order more and receive in time for the current holiday. (Berman & Evans, 2007). The store manager could have monitored the competition, and spending habits for the current year using data mining, and would have prepared for a successful season.
Barcodes and universal product codes (UPC) have become an integral part of retail stores. A cash register scans a product barcode, searches for the correct price in the database, updates the inventory, adds tax and charges the customer