What does it mean when something has a strong effect on you? It moves you. It could be in a positive or negative way but one thing is for sure, it simply takes you somewhere uncharted, offers you something new, or takes away aspects that do not sit well with the currents. Impact gives birth to change.
If we compare the world with how it is 1000, 100, or even just 10 years ago, we will be able to easily point out the stark differences. One of the things I consider as the most significant forces of change in the world today is information technology (IT). Time and again, in my every blog post over the trimester, I have expressed how information technology brought our lives to a whole new different level may it be in a personal sense, or in the course of our professional journey. A millennial like me lives and breathes IT. Of course, IT really matters. IT has such a great impact in my life in particular that if IT is a person, it could have squealed Regina George’s famous line, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” right to my face! Because I really am!
Because of information technology, I get to experience a new way of doing things in line with my job as an auditor and the way I interact with the people around me. It upped our game in the way we do our work and live our lives. Take it away and everything becomes haywire. Here are the impacts that information technology has in my life in professional and personal aspects.
Increased efficiency in doing tasks
Information technology has greatly influenced the physical structure of almost all businesses today. It has shaped the way offices are being designed to promote efficiency in carrying out tasks. Work environments have become smaller to save cost on additional personal spaces in offices.
Wireless networks have become so popular to achieve space saving structures with lesser maintenance and replacement costs for unnecessary cables. In our organization, the IT department is gradually moving towards a complete wireless revolution. The elimination of LAN cables have improved working conditions especially for us, auditors, who are on field most of the time. We can easily transfer from one building to another and still have our laptops usable because of the internet access in all our buildings.
One IT invention that I find to be very helpful in making my day-to-day tasks easier is the use of electronic spreadsheets. In our work, we deal with large volume of data to be processed and analyzed through available spreadsheet applications. When I was first exposed to the use of spreadsheets in data analytics, I took a very slow pace in tapping keys on my keyboard because I was so afraid of making mistakes. Through constant use of this tool, I was able to memorize the different formulas and shortcuts which helped me save a lot of time in doing complex calculations. Now, I am much confident with tasks involving the use of spreadsheets that I was even asked to train my fellow auditors on the spreadsheet tips and tricks. I am slated to do a knowledge sharing session with my peers within the year.
(Word of caution: Because of the above, sometimes I type like this cat 👇)
On a larger scale, IT has influenced the business structure of most companies. Their strategies and business models are dependent on the availability of IT tools, products, and services, as well as available funding. A large chunk of a company’s budget are often incurred for these IT resources as companies take the big switch to more streamlined, paperless processes. Here, companies explore the wonders of IT and the opportunities that await their businesses such as E-business, enterprise resource planning, database application, among others where they can utilize business intelligence tools, collaboration tools, among others.
In 2012, the management of the company where I am currently employed decided to take the big leap towards the implementation of SAP system, one of the most popular ERP systems currently available. It was a bold plan that achieved great success due to the full support from the top management. The group of companies already experienced growth through using manual processing techniques. How much more with using automated processes, right? They gradually changed their processes to adhere to internal control principles and ISO standards. The group experienced a wonderful transformation. Bundy clocks were replaced with biometrics devices. The buildings were equipped with CCTV cameras with an outsourced monitoring unit, and servers were set up and upgraded as necessary. Desktop computers were slowly replaced with laptop units for managers and on-field employees. Service vehicles were equipped with GPS tracking devices for better monitoring. Business structures were examined and redundant processes were eliminated. The group was able to focus more on the primary business objectives and decided to outsource other functions like security, utilities, labor in warehouses and shipping operations, among others. The group was able to reach a wider scope in terms of establishing customer relationships, expand their businesses and explore other industries to penetrate, and make use of available technology like tele/video conferencing to cut costs in the conduct of meetings and reporting procedures. Overall, it was a sweet escape to a more efficient, transparent, faster, simply better way of doing business.
This aspect of the business is very significant to me as an auditor of the group because this would dictate how we do our audit procedures in terms of testing the design and implementation of internal controls put into place by the management, assessment of compliance with company policies and procedures, as well as analysis of financial and operational data to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of operations. As auditors, our efforts are more focused on further improving the processes and identifying process gaps that could have been missed out along the way during transition. We integrated IT-specific procedures in our audits such as identifying breaches of proper segregation of duties especially in the assignment of roles in SAP, potential glitches in the design and integration of various modules to the main ERP which can be uncovered through analysis of data, assignment of conflicting transaction codes to the employee’s function, among others. IT has shaped the business which in turn shaped the way I do my job.
Promotes collaboration among workmates
With the popularity of reduced personal space to cut costs, it brings another advantage to the business which is increased collaboration. Work environments have become open space instead of having individual closed offices or cubicles. This gives the employees a chance to work closer, even next to their bosses which improves communication. Immediate concerns are quickly given attention and resolved. This also gives way to better knowledge sharing among peers as coaching becomes readily available. Progress of teammates can be easily monitored and instructions can be given instantly. Barriers to effective communication are eliminated which results to work accomplished in a faster and more fun way.
Improved security measures both physical and logical
In the advent of technological breakthroughs, a lot of threats exist which could compromise businesses. One of the most alarming threats today is cyber crime. With the integration of IT in business, security measures also need to cope with these changes. Companies nowadays invest on IT security to protect privacy as well as advocate for ethical use of IT.
In our company, we are regularly reminded of changing our passwords especially after an incident of hacking directly affected my corporate email account. I logged out of my computer at around 7 pm and proceeded home. When I checked my email at around 10 pm, I noticed that my corporate email was flooded with unscrupulous messages from an unknown source. It continued for the rest of the night until the next day. When I got to the office the next morning, I immediately reported the incident to the IT department which worked closely with us to resolve the issue. I found out that I was one of the 10 victims that day. The incident greatly affected my work during that day because of the occasional pop-ups for username and password every time the fraudster attempts to hack my account. Our IT department proved to be very reliant that day as they closely monitored to block the hacking attempts.
Cyber crime is somewhat prevalent in our company. Several incidents of hacking/phishing attempts are reported on a monthly basis and what I experienced was only the first wave of it.
From that experience, I always ensure that my accounts, not only my corporate email are properly protected. I have also pledged to live by the principles of computer ethics so that I do not burden others with my bad IT practices.
With all these advantages, what we need in our organizations are managers equipped with IT knowledge. Otherwise, managers should acquire a background in IT to be able to give sound advice on IT matters as it affects all the others areas of business. They must be able to integrate IT in decision-making processes like the preparation of strategic plans and managing projects, as well as on the creation of enterprise architecture. This way, as future managers, the decisions we make are value-adding to the business and are in line with the direction that the company is taking such as its mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives.
IT is a product of the effort of humans to bring change in the world. In turn, IT moves us because it has a strong impact on us, on the world around us. It changed the landscape of business and society throughout the years and continues to leave a remarkable imprint in history and a vision of a strong and promising future. Indeed, our relationship with IT is a two-way street. As Father John M. Culkin said, “We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us.” ★
Credits: All GIFs are from Giphy.com.
This blog claims no credit for any media posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images and videos on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image or video appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please email with a link to said image or video and it will be promptly removed.