No need to worry about upgrading your IT skills or equipment

Competitive businesses need an IT infrastructure that meets their immediate needs and is also flexible enough to accommodate changing market conditions and future growth, according to research by SME Survey.

Competitive businesses need an IT infrastructure that meets their immediate needs and is also flexible enough to accommodate changing market conditions and future growth, according to research by SME Survey.

The benefits from technology for productivity and efficiency are too good to be ignored, but it comes at the price of additional management complexities.

New technologies, services and products add value to the way small businesses do their business, but they must be careful to choose relevant technologies.

Steven Sanders, distribution channel manager at Fujitsu Siemens Computers, says many companies constantly seek to optimise their efficiency by taking advantage of opportunities that come with technology.

Arthur Goldstuck, principal researcher at SME Survey, says results from an incomplete survey already indicate that wise business owners take advantage of certain common IT-related factors to improve the performance of their companies.

"High-speed Internet connectivity, mobile solutions, multifunction devices and the services of specialist software and hardware companies, contribute to improved competitiveness.

"Companies that use these resources consistently perform better than those that do not," Goldstuck says.

He says Internet connectivity and mobility are especially valuable to small businesses, boosting productivity and making companies more competitive.

"It is possible to run an effective company without these tools, but using them where appropriate definitely appears to support improved productivity and competitiveness."

Most small business lack the budget to invest heavily in IT.

"And in most cases IT is not the core business of the company, and it therefore becomes difficult for an SME to invest huge amounts in it," says Godfrey Marange, a systems engineer at Nyaleti Technologies.

"Rather than not having technology at all, it is better for SMEs to rent or lease technology and computer equipment in order to compete effectively," he says.

The high costs of maintaining technology make it difficult for small companies to buy the equipment and take advantage of its benefits, he says.

Buying technology can strain the budget of a small company. Another disadvantage of buying technology is that you struggle to keep pace with the ever-changing technology.

Marange believes that renting equipment is the best option because, as a small business, you don't have to worry about upgrading the equipment, or improving your IT skills or even paying insurance premiums.

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