IT Consultant Information Made Plain

The following is IT consultant information that is vital to your business. Information technology (IT) can get pretty technical, but to use computer technology effectively and efficiently you only need to know the very basic fundamentals.

What Is Information Technology?

The first things you need to know about IT are the following. IT as defined by the Information Technology Association of America is the

  • Study
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Support, and
  • Management

of computer based information systems.

IT transfers, stores, and retrieves data in electronic format from point to point. And, there are two components involved which are hardware and software.

Hardware are the physical media that does the actual transfer and manipulation of data. Software basically are written programs that tell the physical hardware how to transfer and manipulate the data. This is the foundation of computerized information.

When you ask an IT consultant about designing and implementing a computer system the thing that you should be told is select the software prior to selecting the hardware. The reason for this is because the software programs that run on the hardware need hardware that can run the software programs. Essentially, the hardware carries the load of the software. The greater the software load, the greater the hardware capacity needed.

In terms of cost, roughly 80 percent,are salaries of the IT staff. Next, are the software costs of purchasing and implementing your selected software. And, the least cost in the long run is the hardware.

Former executive director of the Harvard Business Review, Nicholas Carr, proposed around the year 2000 that IT is fundamentally like other infrastructure technologies such as electricity and railroads as it has become more standardized and common place. There is an element of truth to this idea.

Basically, those that share Mr. Carr's line of thought propose that IT costs should therefore be minimized. However, software development is far being standardized. This is the one area that may never be standardized.

What Is The Importance of IT?

Simply put, competitive advantage. The chief business use of information technology is in how you use it to make your business excel. Customer relationship management (CRM) is one prime example.

There are three broad system categories that you should focus on, which are,

  • Network Administration
  • Database Administration, and
  • Software Development.

Network administration is basically managing how computers are connected and which computer related services they share. Network admin also involves hardware management.

Database administration is the management of your data or information vital to your business. How you design your database when you first set it up is critical.

If your database is set up incorrectly you will pay big costs to IT consultants to try and fix it. If you have a large database, then it may take anywhere from two to five years to migrate the data in one database to another. While all this is going on your business may come to a grinding halt.

And, software development is creating programs to do the things in your business that you want done. Things such as new customer service systems or inventory systems.

Software development is where you get your distinct competitive advantage by running programs to manipulate data specific to how you want to run your business. Outsourcing software development has become very viable today due to the Internet and advances in computer skills worldwide.

These are some important fundamentals that your IT consultant should address in working with you.

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