Computer technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate in today’s market. Companies that rely upon computer technology advances to support their business are often unaware of the impacts that technology can have on business disputes and the extent to which computer advances have altered the legal landscape. By better understanding the changing landscape, business can more effectively prepare to confront litigation, protect business interests, and minimize the effect of legal disputes on daily operations?
It is now routine for businesses to market and sell products over the internet and to negotiate business deals by email. However, businesses should understand the legal implications of these activities on legal disputes. For instance, a local business selling products through a website may be surprised to learn that it has subjected itself to a potential lawsuit in a state where it has never physically done business. When a legal dispute ensues, the business may encounter the increased litigation expense and inconvenience of defending itself in a distant forum.
In addition, simple emails exchanged between partners, customers, and vendor can significantly impact business’ legal rights. In past, business owners often conducted contract negotiations in – person or by telephone. Today, business proprietors commonly negotiate business deals largely – oven exclusively – via email. The effect can be substantial. Email negotiations are often sufficient to establish an enforceable contract. Further, while parties generally do not maintain detailed records of their verbal negotiations, negotiations conducted by email generate a verbatim transcript of the parties’ interchange, which can later be used at trial.
Computer technology has also dramatically impacted the discovery process in business litigation. Discovery’’ is the process by which parties to a legal dispute exchange documents and information relevant to the dispute. With the advent of email, document management system, voicemail system, and other technologies that allows business to transition to paperless operations, the amount of potentially discoverable information has increased exponentially. Moreover, the current trend in courts is to allow adverse parties to obtain extensive access to this electronic information. The result has been a more complex and intensive discovery process in which parties to a lawsuit may be required to expand substantial resources reviewing and producing electronic file.
This problem is often compounded by the fact that most business today backup their data, making it possible that many more potentially relevant documents are available than are shown on the network, including documents thought to have been deleted. To minimize these concerns, more and more business are involving information systems personnel in legal disputes, implementing software to narrow the categories of data to be considered and developing more finely tuned document retention policies.
Many businesses are also unaware that electronic files contain information that is unavailable in a paper version of the same document. Metadata, for example, is “hidden” data that exist behind what is viewed on the screen. It can disclose information regarding the document’s author, its creation date, modifications made to it, etc. This information may place an organization at risk in a legal dispute. As a result, many companies now implement metadata assistants that strip metadata from documents or that remove data signatures. Also, more companies convert electronic to PDF or other less revealing formats before distributing them.
Electronic case management is also impacting the handling of litigation in federal courts and in some state courts around the country. Various courts, including the U.S District Court for the District of Utah, are now or will soon be posting court fillings on internet-based database, allowing litigation pleadings to be accessed remotely. The system increases the risk that confidential or sensitive information may be more readily disclosed or misused. This is particularly true where, as in the federal case management system, the database is searchable and anyone can access the system.
For business owners, the availability of information regarding a legal dispute may pose particular concern. For instance, a business involved in a legal dispute or a bankruptcy may want to prevent competitors or others form obtaining information about its customers, products, or assets. Some protections exist to prevent such information from being disclosed. However, These protections are not without limits business involved in legal disputes should consult with counsel to understand the information that may be used during a legal dispute and the way in which it can be protected from disclosure.
Advances in technology have changed the way businesses compete in today’s market. But even tech-savvy business sometimes overlooks the way technology has changed the legal disputes they may face. Understanding those changes and the impact they can have on a business will allow a company both to avoid some disputes and more effectively manage those that cannot be avoided.
Computer revolutionized small business also,
Finding computer applications for various aspects of a company’s operations have in recent years; become an increasingly vital task of many small business owners. Indeed, computer an integral part of the business landscape today, in part because they can be an effective to so many different aspects of a business daily operations. Computer systems are now reliable for a broad spectrum of duties, including bookkeeping, business communications, production design, manufacturing, inventory control and marketing. Indeed, a 1997 survey conducted Sale & Management magazine indicated that 85 percent of respondents felt that technology was increasing the efficiency of their sales force, while another 62 percent concluded that helping them increase their sales.
Entrepreneurs and other small business owners utilize today’s rapidly changing computer technology in many different realms of operation.
Computer systems are heavily utilized for a variety of accounting function including employee payroll; cash flow analysis; job costing; tracking of vendor and customer payments and debts; federal, state and local taxes; and other expenses and revenues that impact on the business’s fiscal health. Small business owners use computers for bookkeeping more than for any other purpose, and software programs designed to help even inexperience business owners with their bookkeeping have proliferated on the market place in recent year a result.
The introduction of computer faxes and especially electronic mail systems have revolutionized the way that business communicates either one another. Moreover, e-mail has significantly altered how employees within the same company interact with one another. The savings, both in time and money that have been realized through this computer technology have been consideration. E-mail, for instance not only enable.
Users to save significant sums of money that would otherwise go to long-distance telephone delivery charges, but also speeds up to be process of information delivery. Computer faxes, meanwhile, also enable businesses to ‘’save, labor, office supplies, and long-distance phone charges’’ that are associated with regular fax machines, noted Sandi Smith in the Journal Accountancy. ‘’The savings: You don’t have to make a paper copy, go to the fax machine, we be sure the pages don’t jam – and if the do, resend, the cost of sending a fax via computer fraction of the cost of sending a machine fax’’.
Product design is one of the most popular computer applications in the business world today. Computer – aided design (CAD) involves creating computer models of products that are ultimately transformed into reality. CAD systems enable designers to view objects under a wide variety of representations and to test these objects by simulating real world conditions.
Computer – aided manufacturing (CAM), meanwhile use uses geometrical data to control automated machinery and other production processes .since both CAD and CAM use computer bas methods for encoding geometrical data, it is possible for the processes of design and manufacture to be highly integrated. Computer-aided design and manufacturing systems are commonly referred to as CAD/CAM
In recent years, technological advances have triggered fundamental changes I many CAD/CAM systems. Whereas CAD/CAM applications used to be limited to older mainframe and workstation-base systems, advances in personal computers and software programs spurred a dramatic upsurge in their use among small business owners, who are now better to afford the technology. The greater viability of personal computers for CAD/CAM applications results from their ever-increasing processing powers. An important trend is to be the standardization of software, so that different packages can readily shares data. Standard have been in place for some time regarding data exchange and graphics; users interferes and rapidly going the same route, In the realm of electronics design automation software in greater sophistication of visual representation and greater integration of modeling and testing application.
Small businesses are increasingly using computers to track all aspect of their inventory, including warehousing, ordering, receiving and distribution. In addition many computer systems maintain programs that integrate inventory control needs with aspect of the business’s operations, which helps the company perform in a cohesive and intelligent manners as it negotiates the various obstacles of the business world.
Computer applications for marketing have surged in recent years. Whereas computer applicants for other business needs have been a part of the picture for a decade two now, the widespread use of computers to shape a company’s marketing strategies and campaigns is a relatively new development. “Firms… are gathering tremendous amounts of information about customers, markets and industries by using an array of relatively inexpensive software and computerized data bases” wrote Tim Mc-Collum in Nation’s Business. “These resources can help entrepreneurs increase their effectiveness in targeting markets, cultivating leads, and closing sales… whether it’s called database marketing, small marketing, or target selling, it boils down to using technology to delivery information that boost sales”.
Ultimately, however, Nation’s Business Magazine noted that although computers can be a valuable marketing resource for small firms, “Technology itself won’t boost sales… For sales to climb, information must be carefully integrated into a total marketing strategy.”
The magazine thus made the following recommendations to companies looking to apply computer resource to marketing efforts:
- Build a database of customers and prospective customers, and update it regularly.
- Decide what marketing information is needed and establish a plan to obtain it.
- Use demographic and geographic data to put together a profile of current customer which can be then used to identify potential new markets.
- Use data to identify long-term interests and buying habits of clients.
- Involve sales force (if any) in introduction of new technologies; “if sales people don’t the automated system will benefit them, they won’t use it.”
- Share information throughout thee company.
- Use computer resources to personalize and coordinate direct mailings and other campaigns.
- Arrange so that pertinent customer information is available to those who need it.
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