How the Internet has Affected the Workplace
The Internet as a Source of Observations
Tools such as Spector and Track4Win allow employers to track employees' internet usage at work. Employees generally have no right of privacy at work. According to a 2/18/08 NYT blog, many firms have fired people because of inappropriate use of email.
Using Wikis in Business
Work From Home
Alpine Access recruits agents to work from home (see television news stories about jobs at Alpine Access).
This fascinates me. Even if a job seems to require physical presence, communication and automation means it might be done remotely. According to a PBS story about remote surgery, a Canadian surgeon in New York conducted a gall bladder operation on a woman in France. Source: Kay, Sharon. 2004. "Remote Surgery". Article in the PBS Innovation Program. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/innovation/episode7_essay1.html. Accessed April 21, 2008.
Web Services and Cloud Computing
Web services are software services provided via the web. Hotmail is an example. With a web service, the software you use is not on your own computer. It runs on web server, and you access it over the web. Some people use the term "cloud computing". Cloud computing reduces IT costs because you do not need to buy expensive software.
The advantage of a web service is that you can use the software and access you data from any computer. You don't need to carry your computer around. The data is stored on a web server, so you don't lose it if you lose your computer.
The advantages of web services to a business or organization are even greater. Data is easy to share among colleagues. It's stored in a central secure location, so the business doesn't lose valuable data when someone loses a computer. Documents can be edited on a shared server and everyone can see the latest version immediately. When a new version of the software becomes available every gets access to it at once. The organization does not have to download software to hundreds of individual computers.
Web services are important in business because businesses use many types of software. They use accounting software to keep track of their financial performance. Quickbooks offers a web service called Quickbooks Online. Many businesses use Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) to keep track of all their current and potential transactions. Salesforce.com is a CRM web service.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a hot topic right now. Why buy when you can rent?