Management technology consists of a wide range of hardware and software solutions created to enhance managers’ performance in their key functions. Since technology is adapted to serve the functions of management, the functions of technology can be described in the same terms: communication (or leading), planning, monitoring and control. Understanding how technology can enhance each function is key to using technology effectively to gain competitive advantages.
The first function of management is leading others, and communications technology can enhance managers’ leadership skills when installed and used properly. Communications networks allow managers to speak with employees quickly via email and interoffice chat, while telecommunications technology allows managers to communicate quickly with employees inside and outside of the office via phone. Video conferencing software can allow managers to meet with employees “face-to-face” when they are geographically distant, even on opposite sides of the world.
The planning function of management involves collecting, arranging and analyzing large sets of data on a range of metrics, and technology is suited perfectly to assist in these tasks. Budgeting software can help management teams to construct detailed, informed and reasonable budgets, for example, while materials requirements planning (MRP) software provides feedback on the ideal quantities and dates for inventory purchases. Managers can take advantage of logistics planning tools, demand forecasting, workforce planning tools and a range of solutions for virtually every planning need. Not only can technology simplify the planning process, but it can ensure reliability by aggregating large volumes of data that would be impossible for managers to remember and extremely challenging to record manually.