These days businesses can use electronic communication such as internet and e-mails to get connected with their employees and outside customers.
These days different types of computers such as desktops, laptops, servers, smartphones and tablets are used to simplify our work our work of communicating for our businesses anytime, anywhere. The following are some of the uses of computers in business communication:
(1). We can use computers to access the internet where we can get information from our stakeholders, receive orders from customers, place orders with suppliers, communicate with government agencies and manage our business banking, et cetra
(2). We can use computers to access the intranet and extranet of our companies and other people's companies
(3). We can use the computers to communicate with stakeholders through e-mails, instant messaging, blogs, and various social networking media (such as instagram, facebook, twitter, whatsapp, linked-In
The Internet, Intranet and Extranet
The Internet (or simply The Net) refers to an international computer network connecting other networks and computers from companies, universities, individuals, etc. So an internet-enabled computer is like a window into other people's computers which are connected to it by use of various communication technologies.
Let us simply define the intranet and extranet:
(1).The Intranet is a computer network that is private to a company but is connected to and uses the same software as the internet. This is insulated from the global internet (by firewalls).Its purpose is to bring the workers of the company together.s suppliers and customers so that instead of sending information to them, they can easily fetch it on self-service basis. It connects the company to its customers, vendors
Uses of Internet and the Intranet
Today, businesses primarily use the Internet for advertising, marketing, and customer support. As a global network, the Internet's customer base is the entire world population, making it incredibly attractive to business.The role of the Internet and the Intranet within the organization is somewhat multi-dimensional.
(1). There is the Internet, which is the external website outside of the company, and then there is the Intranet, which is the organizations' internal website for employees. In many cases, especially with large corporations that have global offices, there can be multiple Intranet sites within the organization. In most organizations, the role of the Internet and the Intranet is to be an information resource centre where people can go to get the information they need.
(2).Internet and intranets provide organizations with simplified ability to communicate. While you can publish employee information on the Intranet, the system empowers employees and departments themselves to become publishers and communication facilitators. An Intranet allows anyone in the company to tap into the entire organization's intellectual capital, rather than the limited circle of fellow employees with whom most employees have day-to-day contact.
(3).Internet and intranets are an effective medium through which organizations can provide constant information to help employees perform their jobs more efficiently. Whether the information is concerned with the company's policies, products or services, Intranets ensure that employees are being updated about organizational changes on a regular basis. Some of the known benefits of using the employee Intranet include: access to the company's employee handbook, access to the employee phone directory, which includes a search feature, access to company organizational charts, which include links to phone directory listings,access to employee benefit information, and the ability to enroll in the annual benefits program,access to company advertisements from around the world, which enables employees to see how the organization is positioned in different environments, access to the president of the company addressing shareholders in a live meeting, access to department websites within the organization and access to the manager's review of workers' performance and ability to enter feedback on that performance.
E-mail (electronic mail) is a method of exchanging messages from an author to a recipient over the internet. Today, when the use of the internet has become so popular, e-mail correspondence has become a major vehicle of communication. Every day, milions of emails are sent from companies to customers and suppliers, from employees to their managers and from one coworker to another.
Importance of E-mail in Business
E-mail is important because:
(1). We can send and receive information almost instantly, whether the receiver is near or far.
(2).We can easily keep record of what we communicated and it is easier to track down a specific message whenever we want it compared documents filed away in a drawer.
(3).We can highly reduce our cost of communicating internally and externally by simply signing up for free email services with providers such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail.
(4).We use it to easily reach our business partners through their computers, smartphones, ipads, etc.
(5). We use it for marketing our business through email marketing (spreading information about our products and services)
(6). We use it to keep in touch with our past customers
Emails have inbuilt functions or features for sending a message, for saving a message as a draft, for showing sent messages, for attaching a file or folder, for checking spelling and grammar, for indicating the priority you give to the messages sent, for changing writing styles, font sizes, colours, et cetera.
Parts of an email
Email formats may differ but essentially they contain the following parts:
(1).From –where your email address is often automatically included
(2).To –where you write the email address of your receiver
(3).Cc – meaning “Carbon copy” where you write email addresses of people you want to copy that email to and let them know the other people who received the copy like themselves
(4).Bcc –meaning “Blind carbon copy” where you write email addresses of people who will get a copy of the message without knowing other people who got the copy and without being known by the primary (To:) and secondary(Cc:) recipients
(5).Subject –the headline or topic of the message
(6).The body – the space where you write your message
Guidelines for using E-mail
Some of the guidelines to be observed when writing e-mail include the following:
(1).Do not write your email all in capital letters –it is perceived as shouting
(2). Write a subject line which gets to the point of your message with clarity
(2).Remember to apply good manners – it is cordial to use words such as “Please” or “Thank you” where appropriate
(3).Keep your tone cool –try at all times to be polite
(4).Keep the length of your email reasonable - try to be concise because people tend not to read long emails
(5).Maintain confidentiality – consider carefully what you write since your email is a permanent record and may be copied to people you did not expect
(6).Monitor your attachments – avoid attaching too large files as they are difficult to upload and download but also be careful with attachments as they may be used as vehicles for computer viruses
(7).Avoid overuse of acronyms and abbreviations – not everyone might be familiar with them
(8).Think before forwarding an email message – only forward messages when important and if possible re-phrase the topic on the subject line to make it relevant. And please, do not forward personal emails to discussion groups –that is unprofessional
(9).Provide an informative email signature – you can convey a positive image to your readers by appending a good email signature to all your outgoing emails by making sure it contains your name, position, company details, et cetera.
Problems of using Internet and E-mail in business
Unfortunately internet or e-mail can be abused in several ways:
(1). Some workers may waste work time for personal issues on internet
(2). Some workers may use internet to access and distribute confidential company information to competitors through their emails
(3). It lacks immediate communication support as compared to the face-to face non-verbal communication (such as tone of voice and body language)
(4). The computers connected to the internet may lack security and therefore be hacked or infected with computer viruses