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Unformatted text preview: Confi rming Pages B3.2 * Plug-In B3 Hardware and Software B3 Introduction Managers need to determine what types of hardware and software will satisfy their current and future business needs, the right time to buy the equipment, and how to protect their IT investments. This does not imply that managers need to be experts in all areas of technology; however, building a basic understanding of hardware and software can help them make the right IT investment choices. Information technology (IT) is a field concerned with the use of technology in managing and processing information. Information technology can be composed of the Internet, a personal computer, a cell phone that can access the web, a per- sonal digital assistant, or presentation software. All of these technologies help to perform specific information processing tasks. There are two basic categories of information technology: hardware and software. Hardware consists of the physical devices associated with a computer system. Software is the set of instructions that the hardware executes to carry out specific tasks. Software, such as Microsoft Excel, and various hardware devices, such as a keyboard and a monitor, interact to create a spreadsheet or a graph. This plug-in covers the basics of computer hardware and software including terminology, business uses, and common characteristics. Hardware Basics In many industries, exploiting computer hardware is key to gaining a competitive advantage. Frito-Lay gained a competitive advantage by using handheld devices to track the strategic placement and sale of items in convenience stores. Sales P L U G - I N Hardware and Software LEARNING OUTCOMES 1. Describe the six major categories of hardware and provide an example of each. 2. Identify the different computer categories and explain their potential business uses. 3. Explain the difference between primary and secondary storage. 4. List the common input, output, storage, and communication devices. 5. Describe the eight categories of computers by size. 6. Define the relationship between operating system software and utility software. baL76795_pluginb03_002-021.indd 2 baL76795_pluginb03_002-021.indd 2 8/4/09 3:24:38 PM 8/4/09 3:24:38 PM Confi rming Pages * Plug-In B3 Hardware and Software * B3.3 r epresentatives could track sale price, competitor information, the number of items sold, and item location in the store all from their handheld device. A computer is an electronic device operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory that can accept, manipulate, and store data. A computer system consists of six hardware components (see Figure B3.1 ). Figure B3.2 displays how these components work together to form a computer system....
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- Spring '09