The three waves of change and innovation namely the industrial revolution, the internet revolution, and computer revolution indicate that the discovery of the computer technology is arguably the most significant advancement in history. The proliferation of the global internet and computing has spurred the growth of informatics hence the recent breakthrough in communication technology, computing, and information storage.
One of the sectors that have benefited the most from the rise in computer technology is business since the impact of computer networks is currently felt in the aspirations to go global for survival and productivity in the highly competitive business environment (Gutierrez, 2007). In the contemporary business, the description of computer network traverses an assemblage of interconnected data communication devices that create a system for gathering, analyzing, organizing and disseminating information that increases the survival and profitability of business. Some of the key backbones of computer networking are the extranets and intranets which form the basis of a business network. According to Raymond Panko and Julia (2012), companies operating in the current competitive business environment have adapted computer networking devices primarily for the purpose of collection, management, storage and dissemination of information in a safe, reliable and fast ways.
At present, the only way of surviving competition is through adopting new technologies. However, most firms are still operating at the traditional business mindset whose belief is that survival in the market implies equipping an organization with resources such as human and monetary capital. Furthermore, most organizations have been reluctant to adopt computer technology by opting to start with the internationalization of business to increase revenue instead of enhancing the technological computing capacity of organizations before going global. It is for that reason that the traditional firms that had gone global are increasingly injecting computer networking technology in their workstations to facilitate efficient sharing of resources, to provide high reliability, save money and offer a potent communication medium. Computer networking is currently the surest way of increasing the profit margin of business firms and staying competitive in the current marketplace that is now evolving. Computer networking offers an excellent way of facilitating the collection, storage, analysis and dissemination of business data.
The primary goal of the study is to explore the role of computer networking in contemporary business. It follows the need to avert the longstanding traditional business belief that expansion of business is heavily reliant on the resource capability of an organization mainly through the financial and human capital. The research seeks to answer the question regarding the need to invest in computing technology as a means of digital intelligence first before venturing into an international business environment.
The justification of the research is the fact that most business organizations have not realized the full capabilities of computer technology and networking. At present, the persisting inefficiencies are inordinate in data communication sector with many firms relying on traditional ways of collecting, analyzing and disseminating business information. Furthermore, the laxity and reluctance in adopting computer networking have created a complicated situation that exceeds the capacity of human capital to locate and condense the inefficiencies arising from the lack of computer technology in organizations. Such aspects in addition to a lack of funds to adapt computing technology have made many business firms to resort to traditional means of achieving data collection, storage, and communication. However, a majority have failed and had in the recent past created significant incentives for applying new solutions using Internet-based modernisms. For that reason, computing networking in the form of business telecommunication systems, information technology, and computing are essential in the contemporary business environment as it plays a critical role in business analytics, monitoring, and instrumentation.
Literature review in computer networking
Vasudevan (2015) defines computer networking as the process of interconnecting series of communication devices for the purpose of facilitating the collection, storage, retrieval and sharing of information. In a business environment, the standard computer networking typology has data-storage devices, pagers, fax machines, printers, thin clients, workstations, terminals, mainframe computers, minicomputers and personal computers. However, technological advancement presents the additional computer networking components such as systems for environmental and navigational control, handheld devices and interactive televisions that facilitate the connection of a network (Osterle, 2012). The explanation of network services and protocol is clear with the help of reference models. The most dominant reference model is the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) which serve as the foundation of It standardization for all the tasks executed in the ISO hence the basis of the development of global computer networks (Caporarello, Martino, & Martinez, 2014). The reference model has five distinct layers namely physical, data link, network, transport and application layers that facilitate communication. Every network layer plays a different role, and the functions vary from resource allocation such as allocating network bandwidth, network growth, securing the network from threats, and improving network reliability. According to Rizvi and Sharma (2011), devices that form a computer network offer two-way admission into a wide range of resources to the Internet which is the largest network that enables the connection of the worldwide computer network.
Three types of computer network exist namely, collaborative, distributed and centralized computer systems. In a business setting, the conventional computer networking typology is the centralized computing which entails the utilization of various terminals or workstation connected to a single powerful and mainstream computer (Gutierrez, 2007). The other name for centralized computer networking model is client-server computing. The mainstream computer which is the server has the primary characteristics of large processing and storage capacities. The other computers that form the connections to the server are the nodes or clients hence the name client-server computing. On the other hand, distributed computing entail the subdivision of tasks among different computers such that there is an interconnection computing between different workstations or multiple personal computers. In the case of a distributed network of computers, the nodes have the capacity of processing and dispensing their data without relying on the mainstream compete. An advantage of distributed computing is that it allows autonomy of the nodes while performing services such as file sharing, hardware sharing, and network sharing. Lastly, collaborative networking is a fusion of both distributed and centralized computing such that the client elements in a computer networking model have the capacity of serving the primary needs of the basic users. At the same time, they have significant dependency on mainstream computer in processing certain requests (FitzGerald, Dennis, & Durcikova, 2015).
In business, the key role of computer networking is serving as a communication medium. Computer networking offers a powerful means of communication among the workers of an organization who are working at long distances from each other or the organizations' headquarters. Computer networking is useful in evading communication issues that geographical separations offer to business as computer networking provides an appropriate means of employees' communication such as in the use of on-line communication to work on reports. For a business, it is possible to use computer networks to provide an individual workers or customers with services such as person-to-person communication and the ability to get remote information. In particular, the ability of an employee to gain admittance to remote information implies having interaction between the employee and the organization's remote database. For instance, customers' ability to obtain remote information appear in the form of e-banking, home shopping and on-line market shares (Caporarello, Martino, & Martinez, 2014). Furthermore, person-to-person communication is essential in businesses as a provision of computer networking that enable the workers from difference workstations geographically separated to communicate. The primary form of person-to-person communication is e-mailing in electronic form and in real time. It is inclusive of communication techniques such as video conferencing which offer remote employees to interconnect with other and with the mainstream organization without delay both in audio and video format.
One of the current advanced use of computer networking is its application in Artificial Neural Network (ANN). An Artificial Neural Network is a computer-based information processing system that draws its inspiration on the working of the human brain. Therefore, it is applicable in business for depicting the interaction between computers and human thus showing the critical role that computer networking has in business. According to Tkác and Verner (2016), neural networks have gained significant application in the current real-world business environment as some businesses have applied ANNs in some cases. Examples include the prediction of the stock market which gives an overall overview of whether the business will operate at a profit or loss, and in fraud detection and assessment of conceivable risks. According to Tkác and Verner (2016), ANNs as part of computer networking devices are applicable in business for market segmentation and risk assessment as they enable the visualization of complex databases. The boom in the application of ANNs in business in the recent past has been especially felt in business sectors from production, sales forecasting to finance management. ANN is a computer networking strategy that utilizes a combination of fuzzy, neural and statistical tactics in enabling direct quantitative research in the business field without the application of human intelligence and rocket-science expertise. The application of neural computer networks in the prediction of stock market entails the use of computer systems in gathering and examining stock market information such as pricing and trends hence applying them in prediction. The intervention of computer networking in the stock market is a huge success considering the current business environment is complex hence the difficulties in knowing the factors that weigh in for stock fluctuation. Lastly, ANNs in business has contributed to offering solution to traveling salesman issue since the neural networks methods of approximating sales volume without necessarily moving.
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