Today I was doing a bit of research to understand what people are searching for when they look for help with technology online. The usual terms that came up include CRM, social media, and e-commerce. There was one term that sparked an interest more than the others, and that term was Information Technology or IT.
Instinctively as a software developer, I’ve shunned the phrase IT as a way to describe what I do. The expression is ubiquitous in Trinidad and Tobago, along with its cousin Information and Communications Technology (ICT). John Daintith defined Information Technology (IT) as the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information. This definition seems to speak to the media more than it does the data itself. Saying you’re in IT conjures up thoughts of setting up networks and fixing the printer.
A contemporary approach to IT means going beyond the physical devices and considering the social, organizational, and intellectual properties that make up the system. What we do with the information is now more important than how we transmit it. The types of business that leverage technology has changed considerably as well. While large enterprises continue to invest in technology, medium, and small businesses now appreciate the value technology adds to what they are trying to do. Setting up a website or Facebook page is accessible to any entrepreneur. Being bombarded by requests and having to keep the online presence up to date brings new challenges.
I’ve always believed that everyone has great ideas. Technology is a resource for helping people make their ideas real, and I’ve been passionate about making technology accessible to everyone and not just those in the know. When asked what we do at Wepala, I usually say that we build technology solutions that range from websites, mobile apps to bespoke systems. What I should be saying is that we’re in IT. Our job is to make it easy for businesses to gather, store, and use information to bring value to the market. Over the years, we’ve built content management systems, e-commerce solutions, social media tools, etc., to help enable the workflows of our clients. In a lot of cases, our team acts as the technology team (IT department?) for companies. In short, we make technology approachable and accessible, and that’s what IT is all about.
We’ve been working hard at ways to make the tools needed by companies and entrepreneurs easier and cheaper to implement. We’ve been discussing how to make open-source software commercially viable without losing the essence of open-source, among other things. I’d love to get perspective on what are some of the IT needs that people have (that go beyond setting up printers :) ) so that we can figure out ways that we can help.