The Internet was introduced to the world not too long ago. However, since it’s introduction, it has since grown at an amazing rate. People now source the Internet for information, research, and recently, even shopping. Faster modem speeds have caused more people to rely on the Internet as information can be found at an amazing speed. In today’s business world, it has now become essential for a company to have Internet access. There are very few businesses today that do not have their own websites and e-mail address from which the public can contact them. Below is an analysis of how the Internet has changed communications for organisations.
In the past, communications within organisations were mostly done either by the word of mouth or by writing memos. By word of mouth, when people wanted to communicate with a person within the office, he had to either go to the desk to tell the respective person the message or do it through the phone. However, one problem with this is that the message might get distorted when passing from one person to another. Furthermore, when passing a message by word of mouth, there is no written evidence of what was said. As such, it would be very difficult to track the agreements made within the 2 parties later on.
Another way people used to communicate within organisations without the Internet were by passing memos. They would simply write a memo with their intended message to their colleague and leave it on the person’s desk or in-tray. However, these memos give a person excessive paperwork and very often, the person’s desk will be filled up with memos. As a result of this, these memos very often get lost and thus lose its credibility.
Companies also had a hard time communicating with people outside their office organisation, especially with overseas branches. One of the ways includes using the method known as “snail” mail today. They would send their letters over to their counterparts overseas via mail. Not only did this include a very high cost, this was often a very slow way of communication. A mail would take a minimum of 3 days before it would reach its recipient This is a very time consuming way of communication and could cost a company a lot of money in this fast moving business world.
Should a company need to send documents out immediately, one of the ways they could do it was via fax. This method, though faster than mail, was still very slow. Fax quality is also not known to be of high. The cost incurred by faxing was also very high. A fax to an overseas country was calculated as the same rate as an overseas call. There is also no evidence that the document has been faxed over and conflicts may occur.
Basically, communications for organisations without Internet was usually too slow or limited in terms of capacity of information that could be sent over. High costs for postage or faxing were also incurred in these ways.
Since the introduction of the Internet, communications within organisations is now made easier. The Internet has provided us with E-mails, chat rooms, as well as Internet-to-handphone communications. Furthermore, these programs also provide official records of agreements and conversational exchanges. E-mails and chat transcripts are recognized by the civil court, thus adding validity and trust to the communication process.
E-mails are almost instantaneous, ensuring no waste of time in the communication process. An e-mail that was sent in Singapore today can be received in another country across the world within seconds. With today’s fast moving business world, speed in communication is essential and there is a need for real-time information. The E-mail provides a very good solution to this problem.
The Internet also provides us with chat programs such as MSN Messenger, ICO and AOL. These programs allow 2 users who are countries apart to communicate to each other instantaneously. They would be able to know how negotiations across the world are going on and thus be able to make the necessary decisions. Furthermore, these programs also allow multi-user chat. This enables many people, all in different countries, to form a discussion and to trade information. These programs also have the function of adding a web camera and mike. As such, it would be just like a videoconference. However, the best point of all this is that companies incurs little cost for this. These programs are easily downloaded from the Internet and all the company has to pay for is the net time that they use.
The Internet also allows file transfers between 2 people. As such, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Access databases can be e-mailed from one person to another. This would help a company who is spread across different countries. Company branches around the world could transfer files over to the headquarters who can compile them and access their businesses around the world.
The Internet has also made communications between the company and the public a lot easier. Most organisations already have their own website that provides more information to the public about their goods and services. They would provide information on the goods/services that they are selling with probably a description and price. The public could then research the company up on their own instead of calling up the company to find out this information.
Usually, they would also provide, on their website, a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about their company to answer the public’s queries. Most organisations now also have E-mails with which the public can reach them. All these would save them the manpower required to answer phone calls and channel it to better uses.
In general, without the use of the Internet, most of the communication was done either verbally or using “hard-copy” means. As mentioned before, a verbal means of communication lacked written “black-and-white” evidence of the conversation and a lot is relied on the integrity of the people involved. Hard copy means were also not a very good means of communications, as it would cause excessive paperwork. Furthermore, once the hard copy documents are either lost or destroyed accidentally, it would be impossible to trace it back. The Internet has brought with it an ability to transfer documents via soft copy, enabling the recipient to make any necessary amendments to the documents.
The Internet also allows companies to communicate better with its customers and the public. It enables customers to communicate with the company without having to personally go to the company’s location.
The Internet has brought about many changes in the way communications are made within organisations. It has made communication more efficient and has also brought down the cost of communications for companies. It is no wonder that more and more companies are looking to the Internet to solve their communication problems.