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ICT.9.Thmb.jpg Why ICT matters to SMEs

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Bikky Khosla | 06 Nov, 2012
What are the benefits of adopting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to a small business? Not much aware of it . . . this would be the typical answer by most of our small entrepreneurs. Knowingly or unknowingly, new communication technologies like mobile phones and the Internet are increasingly becoming a part of our lives, but when it comes to making the best of these new age technologies in empowering our business, a vast majority of our small and medium enterprises are still lagging behind.

A frequently cited reason behind SMEs' slowness in adopting ICT is that they lack the financial muscle required for it. Beyond doubt, this argument holds water -- lack of finance has always remained an Achilles' heel for many of our small entrepreneurs. We can't help but agree on this. But at the same time I think that this cannot be the only factor solely responsible for dragging the feet of SMEs in adopting ICT solutions. Lack of awareness and ICT illiteracy are equally responsible for this, which becomes evident when we consider the poor rate of adoption of even some inexpensive ICT technologies among them.

There are several mental roadblocks that are responsible for making ICT systems unpopular among SMEs. A majority of them nurture the misconception that ICT solutions always dig deep into one's pocket and they are therefore basically meant only for larger business. Besides lack of awareness, ICT illiteracy is also responsible. Many SMEs realize that ICT is critical to productivity and performance but due to lack of technical knowledge they find themselves at a loss when needing to choose the appropriate ICT solution. Some of them who invest in ICT systems fail to benefit from these systems due to inability in implementing or maintaining these systems appropriately.

There is not an iota of doubt that the government can and should play a significant role in increasing ICT adoption among SMEs, but if we put this hope aside (as we have to do in many other instances) and think what we can do ourselves, it's awareness that I think can bring a big difference. Overnight this may not be possible, but gradually we can shift from our conventional way of doing business to the smarter ICT way, starting with comparatively cheaper solutions like e-commerce, B2B marketplace or cloud computing and then moving towards more sophisticated solutions like CAD, CAM, Design tools, CRM, online exhibition, vendor management services, software for financial planning and management, etc.

Adopting ICT may not seem profitable as of now, but SMEs must keep in mind that in today's marketplace, which is characterized by increasing competition, these technologies, sooner or later, will be critical to success. They cannot afford to shut their eyes to these developments, which have potential enough to dictate success and survival of a small business. The ones lagging behind will suffer. 
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ICT Adoption
John Theron | Mon Nov 12 10:18:16 2012
A pertinent article, helpful to most SME's. Let us know what sites/programmes are out there which would benefit us. Thanks John

Why ICT matters to SMEs
UMAPRASAD DATTA | Wed Nov 7 07:20:34 2012
While working with several SMEs, I gathered that necessity and benefits of ICT are adequately known to almost all entrepreneurs. The major reasons of deferring switch over are the following apprehensions: Training and redeployment of people, comparative assessment and effectiveness of ICT offered and costs thereof and management of transition period. Most of the entrepreneurs would be glad to adopt ICT, provided the aforesaid apprehensions are adequately addressed.

Preetam Singh | Wed Nov 7 06:49:31 2012
How to get the right ICT in Agriculture - Commodity

DR. ASHOK JADHAV, KOLHAPUR | Tue Nov 6 16:04:20 2012
You are absolutely right. I liked the last sentence i.e. The ones lagging behind will suffer.This is the real fact that why our competiters grow far than us. Just sit down and close your eyes and think why i am lagging behind and you will get the answer : i have not updated newest technology. Thanks for the eye opening Article. Yous : Dr. Ashok Jadhav

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