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Introduction to Business

13.6 Trends in Information Technology

Introduction to Business13.6 Trends in Information Technology
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Understanding Economic Systems and Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Nature of Business
    3. 1.2 Understanding the Business Environment
    4. 1.3 How Business and Economics Work
    5. 1.4 Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
    6. 1.5 Achieving Macroeconomic Goals
    7. 1.6 Microeconomics: Zeroing in on Businesses and Consumers
    8. 1.7 Competing in a Free Market
    9. 1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  3. 2 Making Ethical Decisions and Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
    3. 2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
    4. 2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    5. 2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
    6. 2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    10. Ethics Activity
    11. Working the Net
    12. Critical Thinking Case
    13. Hot Links Address Book
  4. 3 Competing in the Global Marketplace
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Global Trade in the United States
    3. 3.2 Why Nations Trade
    4. 3.3 Barriers to Trade
    5. 3.4 Fostering Global Trade
    6. 3.5 International Economic Communities
    7. 3.6 Participating in the Global Marketplace
    8. 3.7 Threats and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace
    9. 3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
    10. 3.9 Trends in Global Competition
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    14. Ethics Activity
    15. Working the Net
    16. Critical Thinking Case
    17. Hot Links Address Book
  5. 4 Forms of Business Ownership
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Going It Alone: Sole Proprietorships
    3. 4.2 Partnerships: Sharing the Load
    4. 4.3 Corporations: Limiting Your Liability
    5. 4.4 Specialized Forms of Business Organization
    6. 4.5 Franchising: A Popular Trend
    7. 4.6 Mergers and Acquisitions
    8. 4.7 Trends in Business Ownership
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    12. Ethics Activity
    13. Working the Net
    14. Critical Thinking Case
    15. Hot Links Address Book
  6. 5 Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Entrepreneurship Today
    3. 5.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 5.3 Small Business: Driving America's Growth
    5. 5.4 Ready, Set, Start Your Own Business
    6. 5.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 5.6 Small Business, Large Impact
    8. 5.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 5.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  7. 6 Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Role of Management
    3. 6.2 Planning
    4. 6.3 Organizing
    5. 6.4 Leading, Guiding, and Motivating Others
    6. 6.5 Controlling
    7. 6.6 Managerial Roles
    8. 6.7 Managerial Skills
    9. 6.8 Trends in Management and Leadership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  8. 7 Designing Organizational Structures
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Building Organizational Structures
    3. 7.2 Contemporary Structures
    4. 7.3 Using Teams to Enhance Motivation and Performance
    5. 7.4 Authority—Establishing Organizational Relationships
    6. 7.5 Degree of Centralization
    7. 7.6 Organizational Design Considerations
    8. 7.7 The Informal Organization
    9. 7.8 Trends in Organizational Structure
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  9. 8 Managing Human Resources and Labor Relations
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Achieving High Performance through Human Resources Management
    3. 8.2 Employee Recruitment
    4. 8.3 Employee Selection
    5. 8.4 Employee Training and Development
    6. 8.5 Performance Planning and Evaluation
    7. 8.6 Employee Compensation and Benefits
    8. 8.7 The Labor Relations Process
    9. 8.8 Managing Grievances and Conflicts
    10. 8.9 Legal Environment of Human Resources and Labor Relations
    11. 8.10 Trends in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  10. 9 Motivating Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Early Theories of Motivation
    3. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies
    4. 9.3 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    5. 9.4 McGregor's Theories X and Y
    6. 9.5 Herzberg's Motivator-Hygiene Theory
    7. 9.6 Contemporary Views on Motivation
    8. 9.7 From Motivation Theory to Application
    9. 9.8 Trends in Employee Motivation
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  11. 10 Achieving World-Class Operations Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Production and Operations Management—An Overview
    3. 10.2 The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
    4. 10.3 Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
    5. 10.4 Pulling It Together: Resource Planning
    6. 10.5 Production and Operations Control
    7. 10.6 Looking for a Better Way: Improving Production and Operations
    8. 10.7 Transforming the Factory Floor with Technology
    9. 10.8 Trends in Production and Operations Management
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  12. 11 Creating Products and Pricing Strategies to Meet Customers' Needs
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Marketing Concept
    3. 11.2 Creating a Marketing Strategy
    4. 11.3 Developing a Marketing Mix
    5. 11.4 Buyer Behavior
    6. 11.5 Market Segmentation
    7. 11.6 What Is a Product?
    8. 11.7 Creating Products That Deliver Value
    9. 11.8 The Product Life Cycle
    10. 11.9 Pricing Strategies and Future Trends
    11. 11.10 Trends in Developing Products and Pricing
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  13. 12 Distributing and Promoting Products and Services
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 The Nature and Functions of Distribution (Place)
    3. 12.2 Wholesaling
    4. 12.3 The Competitive World of Retailing
    5. 12.4 Using Supply Chain Management to Increase Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
    6. 12.5 Promotion Strategy
    7. 12.6 The Huge Impact of Advertising
    8. 12.7 The Importance of Personal Selling
    9. 12.8 Sales Promotion
    10. 12.9 Public Relations Helps Build Goodwill
    11. 12.10 Trends in Social Media
    12. 12.11 Trends in E-Commerce
    13. Key Terms
    14. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    15. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    16. Ethics Activity
    17. Working the Net
    18. Critical Thinking Case
    19. Hot Links Address Book
  14. 13 Using Technology to Manage Information
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Transforming Businesses through Information
    3. 13.2 Linking Up: Computer Networks
    4. 13.3 Management Information Systems
    5. 13.4 Technology Management and Planning
    6. 13.5 Protecting Computers and Information
    7. 13.6 Trends in Information Technology
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  15. 14 Using Financial Information and Accounting
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Accounting: More than Numbers
    3. 14.2 The Accounting Profession
    4. 14.3 Basic Accounting Procedures
    5. 14.4 The Balance Sheet
    6. 14.5 The Income Statement
    7. 14.6 The Statement of Cash Flows
    8. 14.7 Analyzing Financial Statements
    9. 14.8 Trends in Accounting
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  16. 15 Understanding Money and Financial Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Show Me the Money
    3. 15.2 The Federal Reserve System
    4. 15.3 U.S. Financial Institutions
    5. 15.4 Insuring Bank Deposits
    6. 15.5 International Banking
    7. 15.6 Trends in Financial Institutions
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  17. 16 Understanding Financial Management and Securities Markets
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
    3. 16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
    4. 16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
    5. 16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
    6. 16.5 Equity Financing
    7. 16.6 Securities Markets
    8. 16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
    9. 16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  18. 17 Your Career in Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Learn the Basics of Business
    3. 17.2 Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
    4. 17.3 Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
    5. 17.4 Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
    6. 17.5 Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
    7. 17.6 Self-Test Scoring Guidelines
  19. A | Understanding the Legal and Tax Environment
  20. Index
  21. References
  1. What are the leading trends in information technology?

Information technology is a continually evolving field. The fast pace and amount of change, coupled with IT’s broad reach, make it especially challenging to isolate industry trends. From the time we write this chapter to the time you read it—as little as six months—new trends will appear, and those that seemed important may fade. However, some trends that are reshaping today’s IT landscape are digital forensics, the shift to a distributed workforce, and the increasing use of grid computing.

Cyber Sleuthing: A New Style of Crime Busting

What helped investigators bring suit against Enron, Merck’s Vioxx medication, and the BTK serial killer? Digital evidence taken from an individual’s computer or corporate network—web pages, pictures, documents, and e-mails are part of a relatively new science called digital forensics. Digital-forensics software safeguards electronic evidence used in investigations by creating a duplicate of a hard drive that an investigator can search by keyword, file type, or access date. Digital forensics is also evolving into areas such as cloud computing and blockchain technology. For instance, it is estimated that as much as 3.9 million of the original 21 million bitcoins are “lost” on hard drives confined to landfills and flash drives located in the back of old office desks.21

But nowadays digital sleuthing is not limited to law enforcement. Companies such as Walmart, Target, and American Express have their own secret in-house digital forensics teams. And what if you’re in New York and need to seize a hard drive in Hong Kong? No problem. Over 75 members of the Fortune 500 now use technology that allows them to search hard drives remotely over their corporate networks. Digital forensics makes it possible to track down those who steal corporate data and intellectual property. Broadcom, a semiconductor chip designer, used computer forensics to investigate and apprehend former employees who were attempting to steal trade secrets. In the process, Broadcom gathered incriminating e-mails, including deleted documents, that gave it solid evidence to use the 2013 Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to stop the former employees from starting up a rival firm.22

However, there is a downside to having these advanced capabilities. If this kind of software falls into the wrong hands, sophisticated hackers could access corporate networks and individual computers as easily as taking candy from a baby—and the victims would not even know it was happening. In an age of corporate wrongdoing, sexual predators, and computer porn, your hard drive will tell investigators everything they need to know about your behavior and interests, good and bad. Cybersleuthing means we are all potential targets of digital forensics. As evidenced by the huge increase in identity theft, personal privacy—once an unassailable right—is no longer as sacred as it once was.

Ethics in Practice

Unearthing Your Secrets

Cybercrimes in our technologically driven world are on the increase—identity theft, pornography, and sexual predator victim access, to name a few. The FBI’s computer analysis response team confirms their caseload includes 800 cases reported per day in 2017. To keep up with the changing world we live in, law enforcement, corporations, and government agencies have turned to new crime-fighting tools, one of the most effective being digital forensics.

The leader in this technology is Guidance Software, founded in 1997 to develop solutions that search, identify, recover, and deliver digital information in a forensically sound and cost-effective manner. Headquartered in Pasadena, California, the company employs 391 people at offices and training facilities in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; New York City; and Brazil, England, and Singapore. The company’s more than 20,000 high-profile clients include leading police agencies, government investigation and law enforcement agencies, and Fortune 1000 corporations in the financial service, insurance, high-tech and consulting, health care, and utility industries.

Guidance Software’s suite of EnCase® solutions is the first computer forensics tool able to provide world-class electronic investigative capabilities for large-scale complex investigations. Law enforcement officers, government/corporate investigators, and consultants around the world can now benefit from computer forensics that exceed anything previously available. The software offers an investigative infrastructure that provides network-enabled investigations, enterprise-wide integration with other security technologies, and powerful search and collection tools. With EnCase, clients can conduct digital investigations, handle large-scale data collection needs, and respond to external attacks.

Notably, the company’s software was used by law enforcement in the Casey Anthony murder case and the Sony PlayStation security breach, and was used to examine data retrieved by the U.S. special forces in the Osama bin Laden raid.

Guidance Software also helps reduce corporate and personal liability when investigating computer-related fraud, intellectual property theft, and employee misconduct. It protects against network threats such as hackers, worms, and viruses and hidden threats such as malicious code.

In response to increases in the number and scope of discovery requests, Guidance Software developed its eDiscovery Suite. The software package dramatically improves the practice of large-scale discovery—the identification, collection, cataloging, and saving of evidence—required in almost every major legal case these days. eDiscovery integrates with other litigation-support software to significantly decrease the time for corporations to accomplish these tasks. At the same time, it improves regulatory compliance and reduces disruption. The result is many millions of dollars in cost savings. In late 2017, Guidance Software was acquired by OpenText, an enterprise information management company that employs more than 10,000 people worldwide.

Sources: FBI website, https://www.fbi.gov, accessed January 15, 2018; Guidance Software website, https://www.guidancesoftware.com, accessed January 15, 2018; OpenText website, https://www.opentext.com, accessed January 15, 2018; “Casey Anthony: The Computer Forensics,” The State v Casey Anthony website, https://statevcasey.wordpress.com, July 18, 2011; Declan McCullagh, “Finding Treasures in Bin Laden Computers,” CBS News, https://www.cbsnews.com, May 6, 2011; Evan Narcisse, “ Who’s Cleaning Up the PSN Debacle for Sony?” Time, http://techland.time.com, May 4, 2011.

Critical Thinking Questions
  1. How is Guidance Software responding to and helping to manage changes in our technology-driven world?
  2. What other types of forensics software do you foresee a need for in the future? Do you think there are ethical issues in using forensics software, and why?
  3. What are the benefits and risks of Guidance Software being acquired by a larger company?

The Distributed Workforce

Insurance company Aetna shuttered 2.7 million square feet of office space, saving the company $78 million, while American Express estimates it saved between $10 to $15 million dollars per year by expanding its distributed workforce. Was this a sign that these company were in trouble? Far from it. Instead of maintaining expensive offices in multiple locations, they sent employees home to work and adopted a new model for employees: the distributed workforce. Employees have no permanent office space and work from home or on the road. The shift to virtual workers has been a huge success, and not only do companies save on their personnel and related costs, but they also have happier, more productive employees.

Aetna and American Express are not alone in recognizing the benefits of distributed workers, especially in companies that depend on knowledge workers. Work Design Collaborative LLC in Prescott, Arizona, estimates that about 12 percent of all workers in the United States fall into this category, and in urban areas the number could be as high as 15 percent. There are estimates that this trend could eventually reach 40 percent over the next decade, as long commutes, high gas costs, and better connecting tools and technologies make this an attractive option for many workers who like the flexibility of not working in an office.23 Already, employees use the internet to conduct video-conferenced meetings and collaborate on teams that span the globe. On the downside, working from home can also mean being available 24/7—although most workers consider the trade-off well worth it.

According to recent statistics, close to four million U.S. workers work from home at least half of the time. Remote workers continue to be recruited by companies of all sizes, including Amazon, Dell, Salesforce, and others.24 Intel has a successful virtual-work program that has been popular with working parents. “Technology allows working remotely to be completely invisible,” says Laura Dionne, the company’s director of supply-chain transformation. At Boeing, thousands of employees participate in the virtual-work program, and it has been a critical factor in attracting and retaining younger workers. Almost half of Sun Microsystems’ employees are “location-independent,” reducing real estate costs by $300 million. Additional benefits for Sun are higher productivity from these workers and the ability to hire the best talent. “Our people working these remote schedules are the happiest employees we have, and they have the lowest attrition rates,” says Bill MacGowan, senior vice president for human resources at Sun. “Would I rather settle on someone mediocre in the Bay Area, or get the best person in the country who is willing to work remotely?”25

Grid and Cloud Computing Offer Powerful Solutions

How can smaller companies that occasionally need to perform difficult and large-scale computational tasks find a way to accomplish their projects? They can turn to grid or cloud computing, also called utility computing or peer-to-peer computing. Cloud and grid technology provides a way to divide the job into many smaller tasks and distribute them to a virtual supercomputer consisting of many small computers linked into a common network. Combining multiple desktop machines results in computing power that exceeds supercomputer speeds. A hardware and software infrastructure clusters and integrates computers and applications from multiple sources, harnessing unused power in existing PCs and networks. This structure distributes computational resources but maintains central control of the process. A central server acts as a team leader and traffic monitor. The controlling cluster server divides a task into subtasks, assigns the work to computers on the grid with surplus processing power, combines the results, and moves on to the next task until the job is finished. Exhibit 13.9 shows how typical grid and cloud setups work, and the differences between the two.

In grid computing, a task is sent to a control server, then bounced back and forth between servers around the globe. With cloud computing, multiple devices, such as laptops, cell phones, networks, all connect to a single cloud source.
Exhibit 13.9 How Grid and Cloud Computing Work (Attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY 4.0 license.)

With utility computing, any company—large or small—can access the software and computer capacity on an as-needed basis. One of the big advantages of cloud computing is that companies can update their inventory in real time across their entire organization. For example, suppose you are an appliance retailer and have several outlets throughout the Midwest. If you have one model of a Whirlpool washing machine in your Des Moines, Iowa, store, and a salesperson in your Chicago location can sell that model in Chicago, the sale can be accomplished pretty easily. They can finalize the sale, create the shipping instructions, and update the inventory record automatically—and the Chicago consumer’s needs will be met.26

Amazon, Google, IBM, Salesforce.com, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are among the companies providing as-needed cloud and grid services. Although cloud and grid computing appears similar to outsourcing or on-demand software from ASPs, it has two key differences:

  • Pricing is set per-use, whereas outsourcing involves fixed-price contracts.
  • Cloud and grid computing goes beyond hosted software and includes computer and networking equipment as well as services.

The cloud and grids provide a very cost-effective way to provide computing power for complex projects in areas such as weather research and financial and biomedical modeling. Because the computing infrastructure already exists—they tap into computer capacity that is otherwise unused—the cost is quite low. The increased interest in cloud and grid technology will continue to contribute to high growth.

Concept Check

  1. How are companies and other organizations using digital forensics to obtain critical information?
  2. Why do companies find that productivity rises when they offer employees the option of joining the virtual workforce?
  3. What advantages do grid and cloud computing offer a company? What are some of the downsides to using this method?
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