Advantages & Disadvantages of Computerized Systems

By Christine Lebednik

Whether you consider the advantages or the disadvantages of computerized systems more significant will depend on your own experience. For those who use computer systems both at home and at work, you may even find that you have opposite perspectives on whether advantages outweigh disadvantages or the other way around when it comes to comparing your home computerized system with your office's system.

Advantage: Efficiency

Computerized systems allow for greater efficiency in performing specific tasks both more accurately and more rapidly than doing the same task using, for example, a pencil and paper or a pencil and ledger book. Computerized systems also offer storage capacity efficiency. For example, a computerized system's hard drive taking up a relatively small amount of space can store a large collection of business or personal documents. A paper-based system, in contrast, would take up at least one, and usually more, file cabinets for storage of the same document collection.

Advantages: Learning

Computerized systems can also enliven young people’s learning activities, as well as and accommodate a variety of different learning styles. In an office setting, computer-based training, or CBT, allows management training flexibility. At the most fundamental level, CBT learning modules incorporate only slide-like pages of text and perhaps some simple questions to test comprehension. At the most sophisticated level, CBT training can incorporate simulations of complex situations that the learner may encounter in her profession. Both the aviation and the medical professions make use of computer-based simulations in some of their training activities. Management also has the flexibility to combine CBT instructional activities with more traditional forms of training, such as instructor-led classroom training.

Disadvantages: Miscellaneous

Rapid changes in technology can cause a computer to become outdated relatively quickly, requiring upgrades or replacements on a regular basis for computerized systems deployed in business use. Computerized systems can also give some users a sense of false security that can result in catastrophic losses of massive amounts of present or past work unless the user learns to use proper backup procedures. Computer work also has been implicated in a variety of health-related issues, such as skeletal problems, eyestrain and a complex of conditions known as repetitive stress injury — with carpal tunnel syndrome illustrating the best-known repetitive-stress condition.

Disadvantages: Social

Socially, children who spend excessive time using computers have less opportunity to learn such social skills as good manners or cooperation with others. Adults whose work involves heavy computer use to the extent of restricting social interaction may feel isolated or cut off from the world. While home-based workers may suffer from the greatest sense of isolation, this can affect certain employees of traditional businesses, also. A programmer or a quality tester who works alone in a lab or back office environment can also experience such a sense of seclusion.

Workplace Concerns

Computerized systems exemplify both advantages and disadvantages in the workplace. The use of computerized systems has resulted in streamlining such that, for example, the same size organization needs fewer secretaries for the same number of executives or departments than it once did. This loss of many lower- and middle-level jobs, combined with the rapid changes in technology that can fairly rapidly outdate even some jobs within the computer or information technology field itself, has given rise to a perception of lack of job security. Conversely, the prevalence of computerized systems has also resulted in the creation of challenging new jobs, sometimes opening up entirely new professional fields.