No matter what industry you work in, chances are you are required to use some form of computer software in your job, even if it is just sending the occasional email to clients to let them know how you’re getting on with your work.
Software has had a huge impact on all of our lives, but these days we often take it for granted, to the point where many of us can’t even remember what our jobs were like before we had software there to help us. With this in mind, this article takes a look at the issue of software and how it has revolutionised the way we work, before highlighting some of the most popular examples of industry changing software.
Why should we be bothered about software?
Once upon a time, computers did not exist. Everything was done by hand. We couldn’t send emails to clients because they hadn’t been invented yet. We could have a video conference with colleagues because we didn’t have the technology. Instead, letters were sent by snail mail, and a meeting required a lot more organisation than it does today.
Just this brief outline goes a long way to answering the question as to why we should be bothered about software. Simply put, the purpose of computer software is to help make tasks easier, enabling us to complete our work more efficiently and, with any luck, be more productive as a result. Technology has also improved our capabilities, meaning that things we could once only dream of are now an everyday reality.
For example, fifty years ago, if you wanted to get in touch with your entire client list, you’d either have to phone or send out letters to everyone – and that quickly got expensive. By contrast, an email is quick and cheap, so even though we might not think twice about sending one now, it’s definitely worth pausing once in a while to think just how different things could be.
Some of the best – before and after
From all of this, it is very easy to see just how much potential software has to change an industry but, since it can be hard to visualise without more specifics, here are some examples of how specific software has revolutionised our work.
Advertising (Before): There was a time when the main form of advertising was a spot in the newspaper. Word of mouth and leaflets were also important.
Advertising (After): All of the above forms of advertising still remain and undoubtedly have their uses, but the creation of software such as Google Adwords has really changed things. Now, it is possible to target ads to users who are more likely to be interested in their content, and it is much quicker to arrange and implement an advertising campaign.
Payroll (Before): The payroll is one of the most important jobs in any company. It used to be that the whole thing was worked out by hand, often in ledgers, and later painstakingly entered into primitive computer spread sheets. The process was laborious, complicated, and unfortunately prone to error.
Payroll (After): The creation of payroll software has infinitely improved the lives of everyone who works in accounts. Now, rather than having to work out tax and NI by hand, the software itself is able to do this, making things much easier – and when you consider how many tax codes there are and how many variables they depend on, this is definitely welcome. There are lots of different types and features of payroll software available, so companies of all sizes can find an option to suit them.
Photography (Before): There may have been something quite romantic about the idea of photographers sitting in a dark room for hours on end, editing their pictures. However, this could also be time consuming and if a mistake was made, a whole picture could be lost.
Photography (After): The rise of software such as Photoshop now makes the editing aspect of photography much easier. It is possible to create more effects than ever before and since the process is so much faster, photographers are able to do more and more in the same amount of time. The same software has also revolutionised the way many professional view design.
Overall, while there will always be a place for what we could term the ‘old’ methods, this article also highlights their limitations – and demonstrates why software was developed in the first place. Even if you don’t require ‘specialist’ software such as that outlined above, just think how different your working life would be without email software or a word processing facility. Software has a greater reach than we think, and the business world would be very different without it.