Special Report--ENTERPRISE: Technology: Networking
TABLE: Tools for the Information Age
LOCAL-AREA If the business is big enough to have several computers,
NETWORKS link them together in networks that allow coworkers
to easily share information and computing resources.
PORTABLE Notebook computers can keep the salesforce plugged into
COMPUTERS the home of fice. Handheld data terminals and personal
digital assistants can be had for a few hundred dollars
and can be used by low-skilled workers to gather data in
E-MAIL A cheap and easy way to stay in touch with customers and
suppliers. Small businesses can buy electronic-mail ser-
vices from telephone companies or use the Internet
through a variety of providers including online services
such as CompuServe, America Online, or Prodigy.
FAX Don't want to stand at the fax machine all day sending
faxes? Convert a PC to a "fax server" that can do the
job of a dozen separate fax machines--and relay incoming
fax messages to any computer on the network. An alter-
native: use a fax service such as AT&T Mail to do the job
GROUPWARE Even a small business with 100 to 200 employees can ben-
efit from groupware programs such as Lotus Notes. It's a
good way for employees to swap information and collaborate.
DATA: BUSINESS WEEK