IT in BUSINESS
Who needs IT in a small and medium-sized business? I’ve seen quite a few small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in recent years. I can confidently draw a sad conclusion – the insufficient attention paid to the company’s IT infrastructure at the beginning turns into quite serious problems after a while – from the slowdown of growth to the suspension of activities. Thus, according to some estimates, the contribution of small businesses reaches half of the entire US budget.
At the same time, the SME sector is gradually maturing in order to introduce new technological solutions. In order to succeed in the highly competitive environment, improve work efficiency and reduce costs, small businesses are willing to invest in computerization. The country’s telecommunications infrastructure is improving, and broadband Internet access is developing, which also increases the demand for IT.
If the question of whether high technologies are needed for medium-sized business tasks and large business seems to be the market decided long ago, then the active use of information technologies in very small companies – this topic is still not obvious to the managers of such companies. Small and medium-sized businesses are just as dependent on information technology as large organizations. In such organizations, there are much fewer IT professionals than in large companies, so the head of the IT department must be directly involved in the development and support of the IT infrastructure, and therefore he must be highly qualified in the field of IT. It is rare that the IT specialists of a small and medium-sized enterprise need to have significant business experience.
On the part of business owners and managers, the attitude towards IT is quite ambiguous. For some it is a fashion that must be followed just because it is modern, for others it is prestige and a means of increasing the value of the assets of the enterprise. But there are even more entrepreneurs for whom information technology is a huge headache and unjustified additional costs. Now, almost all business spheres are quite saturated: thousands of new small businesses appear every year, trying to compete with the existing ones. Therefore, the most advanced players in this market are already gaining a competitive advantage through IT, while the others are gradually realizing that they will soon have nothing to do in the market without investments in this area. The IT systems of the market of small and medium-sized enterprises are the factors of survival: without them, even a company of five people will not be able to develop, and it will cause big problems with the departure of any employee. The role of IT in the SMB should be examined more widely, it should be understood that IT not only automates accounting but also tools such as customer interaction systems, e-mail, telephone calls, and an Internet portal. Small and medium-sized enterprises in the SME sector are forced to react immediately to changes in the market situation, and this is impossible without a high level of business control. This is sure to encourage small business leaders to innovate to solve problems.
Another common disease of small businesses is the lack of a long-term strategy. In the organization’s development strategy, strict requirements for IT systems must be laid down at the beginning. In most cases, small businesses do not have a well-founded knowledge base of best practices and clearly structured business processes. You should try to avoid such situations. Of course, small and medium-sized businesses save money because they spend their owner’s personal money on automation, which could be used to improve the business. Therefore, it is important for them to choose a solution that: solves their current business problems; is reasonably priced; allows for seamless scaling as their business grows. With this formulation of the question, it is reasonable to consider computerization in a complex way, and not in the way that we buy a server now and then think about a software solution. There is even less agreement regarding the place of IT departments in the company structure. Many people think that it is just a service department that installs and maintains computer and specialized equipment, software and office equipment. Moreover, the only difference between the IT service and the administrative service is simply the higher level of education and the “imagined” sense of self-importance of the employees. Managers who consider themselves to be more developed, on the contrary, especially emphasize information technology structures, place them on an equal footing with financial services and products, and allow the IT service manager to develop a strategy. Although management often doubts Whether we like it or not, information technologies not only make people talk more and more about themselves, but also become an integral part of business and, most importantly, a guarantee of business efficiency. However, the IT industry is growing at a gigantic rate, and it is not easy to satisfy the business needs for innovation, it tries to create and strengthen this need, giving birth to many myths and legends. This is especially true for the technologies of individual development software, the introduction of large software systems, and consulting in the corporate sector, technologies that are most sensitive to the fluctuations of “fashion” and are more subjective in assessing their quality.