What Is IT? Everything You Need to Know

July 31, 2018

What is IT? In our case, we’re not referring to the well-known grammatical article. If “it” is what you’re looking for, try here. Instead, we’re talking about IT — information technology — an often confusing, but certainly important, field that impacts every business in the world. To many people, IT can be summed up like this: you may not be able to describe IT, but you know it when you see it.

Our goal is to bridge the gap between being able to identify IT and actually knowing what IT is. This is important. Why? Because when you have IT pain points and need an IT partner, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision.

What is IT?

By definition, information technology is the use of systems, including storage, networking, hardware and software to create, process, store, secure and exchange all electronically transmitted data. Whew! If that definition confuses you, you’re not alone.

So let’s break down these terms.

  • Storage: physical devices like USB drives and non-physical applications like the Apple Cloud service or Google Drive
  • Networking: wired or wireless electronic pathways that communicate with each other to transmit data
  • Hardware: any tangible devices such as computers, tablets, laptops and phones that you use to transmit data
  • Software: intangible tools and applications you use on your hardware, such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat or Javascript

Basically, IT encompasses every type of electronic communication you carry out! That’s a lot of coverage if you think about it. Every email you send, every file you save, every app you download is a part of IT.

A Brief History

To fully understand what IT is now and where the field going, it’s important to know where it began. Although the IT we think of currently didn’t truly begin until the 20th century. Information technology in some capacity has been around for centuries.

Pre-1500 A.D.

A time long, long ago when the Mongols reigned and the Black Plague ravaged Europe, rudimentary forms of IT were born. While these forms used no electricity like today, they do have one critical part in common: the creation, storage and transfer of information.

Concepts like letters and numbers are so common to us now we don’t even consider them to be forms of IT, but it would be impossible to use technology without them. In this period, cuneiform and the first numbering systems were created. The first physical storage devices were created too — books!

15th-19th Century

A radical span of time where cultural renaissances took places, hundred year wars raged and countries like the America were born. From the life of Joan of Arc to the Aztec Empire to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the human race was forging on, creating revolutionary things the world had never seen before.

In this period, a version similar to our understanding of IT emerged. Actual machinery such as Gutenberg’s printing press and rulers were created. In fact, rudimentary versions of computing machines were experimented with, from Blaise Pascal’s arithmetic machine to Charles Babbage's calculator and automatic computing engines. In fact, in the late 19th century, people were hired as “computers” to use these types of machines.

19th-20th Century

Most of us may be more familiar with the goings-on in this time period. From the Industrial Revolution to the first man on the moon to the creation of the world wide web, innovation was booming, and technology was steadily becoming a critical part of everyday life.

The beginnings of electric computing emerged during this time, leading to the term “information technology,” coined in 1958. The 20th century was simultaneously the era of room-sized computing systems and the introduction of the personal computer, CDs and microchips.

Today

We now live in a digital age. We’re immersed in technology from when we wake up to when we go to sleep — sometimes even while we’re sleeping! We have the smallest flashdrives, the thinnest computers, the largest memory, the fastest bandwidth of any point in history.

From the beginning of IT to now, humans have been on a quest to make our lives easier. For thousands of years, we've explored and experimented with machinery, perfecting the technology we use to create the ideal life helper.

The Benefit

Besides the innate “cool” factor of technology, there's a real benefit to using IT to improve our lives. Whether you’re using it at home, at the office or around the world, technology makes life easier.

To You

IT gives us more time to do what we want. Through technology, we’re able to do in minutes what might have taken hours in the past. The internet can help us find the perfect restaurant in seconds, email lets us immediately communicate with anyone and software helps us create quicker than a pen and notepad ever could.

To Your Business

IT increases productivity and accessibility. The latest software and hardware allows us to multitask, collaborate and work on the go without missing a step. Updated technology means we can work smarter — saving time and reducing labor costs. When we invest in technology, we have happier employees who can focus on their jobs, leading to business growth.

To the World

Perhaps the greatest benefit technology offers us is the ability to connect. We can communicate with people around the world, imparting our knowledge and learning in turn. This has led to an explosion of job growth — 557,100 new jobs are projected by 2026 in the U.S. alone! We’re expanding our combined knowledge and creating a closer global community every day.

And while IT is certainly an amazing creation, it’s not without pitfalls. As much as we enjoy the miracles of technology, we’re also familiar with the hazards surrounding IT. Email spam, corrupted files, faulty apps and more can take away from the glamour, especially when it’s happening all the time. It can be even more frustrating when the issues begin to impede on your time.

How Can I Get There?

Effective IT isn’t a given, it’s an investment in the right people experienced in the field. It’s critical to work with IT experts that you trust to do the job right. They need to be knowledgeable of the leading-edge technology, skilled in best practices for your industry and dedicated to improving your company.

When looking for an IT company to partner with, there are questions to ask to help determine if they’re the right choice for you. These include:

  1. Does a person answer the phone when you call?
  2. Will the provider supply a dedicated support team for your company?
  3. Will the provider keep its services local and not outsource its services overseas?
  4. Will you be able to avoid getting nickel & dimed for every call or onsite visit?

As a premium managed service provider (MSP), we can answer every question with an absolute “yes.” Operating as an MSP, we offer both end-to-end technology coverage of your company or support to your in-house IT team. We work to ensure your IT is proactively monitored, managed and maintained by a team of qualified IT specialists. If you’re looking for effective IT, we can get you there. Learn more about the iVenture difference.

Want to know what else to ask potential IT providers? See if they can meet these basic criteria.

Download the Checklist

You’ve got the knowledge necessary to make the right decision. We’re ready to work with you. iVenture Solutions is an award-winning managed services provider delivering superior IT solutions to clients across Florida and beyond. Through rapid response time, reduction of chaos and the right people, our certified team of IT professionals will proactively work to give your business the most out of IT. At iVenture, we give you more time to do what matters most. 

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