(1) My niece, Ann, is in her third year at university. She has recently started her job search. When she entered the university, she wanted to be an architect and planned to apply for work in an architectural firm. But as she prepared for her job search, she learned that the way people work has changed a lot in the last few years. She discovered that much of the change has occurred because of what is called the IT Revolution. The "IT(Information Technology) Revolution" refers to the dramatic change in the way information is perceived and used in today's world.
(2) Over the past 12 to 15 years, the amount and types of data available on the Internet and, in particular, the speed at which we can process the date, have increased to an extent few people could have imagined. These developments have led to new ways of thinking about how we use information and how we work in information-rich environments. Simply put, doing business no longer relies on locations; new information-sharing software has made cooperation at a distance convenient and efficient.
(3) As a result, many new business models have appeared. One such mode is a large corporation arranging to have another company, often located in a different country, perform essential tasks. This became possible with the growth of reliable and secure communications and the ability to move massive amounts of data over long distances in an instant. An early example of this arrangement is in the field of accounting. A company in the United States, for instance, first scans all its bills, orders, and wage payments into the computer and sends the documents to an accounting center in, say, Costa Rica. Basic accounting activity is then carried out at that site. Next, the data is returned via the Internet to the original company, where high-level analysis is done.
(4) Another example of this type of arrangement is reliance on overseas call centers, which have become increasingly common. It has become possible for a telephone operator in India to answer a customer-service call from anywhere in the world, respond directly to the customer and offer a satisfactory solution, at a far lower cost to the company than ever before. Many large companies now depend on such call centers. Today in Japan, when you call a toll-free number, there is a chance that someone in Chingtao, China will answer the phone in Japanese to help solve your problem.
(5) A second business model made possible by the IT Revolution is one in which work is divided into smaller, more specific tasks performed by individuals in different geographical locations. For example, freelance specialists who may be living in California does some initial work on the project and uploads the result onto a server. A colleague in Japan spends the day making further additions to the design. Next, someone in Israel accesses it and does his/her portion of the job. Finally the group member in California downloads it and gives it a final check. Thus, freelance specialists in different parts of the world collaborate to complete a single project.
(6) A similar example is that of a commercial artist who works in the privacy of her beachside home in Hawaii to create a mail-order catalog for a client in Paris. She uses pictures taken by a photographer in Australia, adds text composed by a writer in Canada, includes artwork she created on her computer, and sends the finished product out to the client for final approval. All this is done digitally and according to each worker's own schedule. In this way, the best talent in the world can be chosen for each task.
(7) With the knowledge she has acquired in the course of her job search, Ann now understands how the nature of work has changed as a result of the IT Revolution. Although she is still interested in architecture, Ann now realizes that this field offers a broader variety of opportunities. Rather than studying architectural design itself, Ann has decided to become an expert in the specifications and materials that architects need for their designs. She also now knows that there is often not enough work in one office for a specialist of this type. However, she is confident she can work as a freelance specialist in collaboration with variety of people in different countries. Ann now looks forward to taking advantage of the career opportunities that the IT Revolution has opened up.