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Information technology (also referred to as IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data,[1] often in the context of a business or other enterprise.[2] The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones.[3] Several industries are associated with information technology, such as computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce and computer services.

In the business context, the Information Technology Association of America has defined information technology (IT) as "the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems".[4] The business value of information technology is to automate business processes, provide information for decision making, connect business with their customers, and provide productivity tools to increase efficiency. In an academic context, the Association for Computing Machinery defines it as "undergraduate degree programs that prepare students to meet the computer technology needs of business, government, healthcare, schools, and other kinds of organizations .... IT specialists assume responsibility for selecting hardware and software products appropriate for an organization, integrating those products with organizational needs and infrastructure, and installing, customizing, and maintaining those applications for the organization’s computer users. Examples of these responsibilities include the installation of networks; network administration and security; the design of web pages; the development of multimedia resources; the installation of communication components; the oversight of email systems; and the planning and management of the technology lifecycle by which an organization’s technology is maintained, upgraded, and replaced."[5]

Humans have been storing, retrieving, manipulating and communicating information since the Sumerians in Mesopotamia developed writing in about 3000 BC,[6] but the term "Information Technology" in its modern sense first appeared in a 1958 article published in the Harvard Business Review; authors Leavitt and Whisler commented that "the new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology (IT)." Based on the storage and processing technology employed, it is possible to distinguish four distinct phases of IT development: pre-mechanical (3000 BC – 1450 AD), mechanical (1450–1840), electromechanical (1840–1940) and electronic (1940-present). [7]This article focuses on the most recent period, (electronic) which began around the year 1940.


References

  1. Daintith, John, ed. (2009), "IT", A Dictionary of Physics, Oxford University Press, retrieved 1 August 2012
  2. "Free on-line dictionary of computing (FOLDOC)". Retrieved 9 Feb. 2013.
  3. Chandler, Daniel; Munday, Rod, "Information technology", A Dictionary of Media and Communication (first ed.), Oxford University Press, retrieved 1 August 2012
  4. Proctor 2011, preface.
  5. The Joint Task Force for Computing Curricula 2005. Computing Curricula 2005: The Overview Report (pdf)
  6. Butler, Jeremy G., "A History of Information Technology and Systems", University of Arizona, retrieved 2 August 2012
  7. Leavitt, Harold J.; Whisler, Thomas L. Whisler (1958), "Management in the 1980s", Harvard Business Review 11


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