The SME market is in desperate need of education on the business benefits of IT.
Attache Software managing director, Mike Rich, said there’s a lack of education in the SME market about the effective use of IT.
As a result, the company has launched a Business Improvement Guide, which provides business owners with more than 700 ways to effectively use and monitor IT within their organisation.The $1 million guide took three years to write.
“Communication to the SME market is not working. We saw this problem two years ago and we hit the panic button,” Rich said.
The IT industry is so caught up in the supply side (focusing on technical features) rather than the demand side (business benefits) that customers have become disconnected with technology, he said.
As such, Rich urged the channel as well as business owners to get educated on business efficiency, the true value of IT (versus the typical product flog) and the walk towards international standards for governance of IT.
He said SMEs with $1 million to $50 million annual turnover would benefit most from the guide.
According to recent research by Infonomics, 80 per cent of respondents in both large and SME environments said that the market did not provide enough relevant and accessible guidance to help them understand and govern their business use of IT.
Typical businesses in the SME market have aging IT systems, and many of them were deployed during Y2K.
“Today with the downturn the people I’m talking to are exposed. The worst aspect is they are not looking to renew IT systems – and not looking at remedies in the IT field.”
The SME community has inferior IT systems compared to many large companies.
“Small is no longer beautiful in many cases and I’m deeply concerned – we need to do something to get SMEs in shape," Rich said.
“The channel needs to embrace things that represent value to clients. Learn the business case as opposed to flogging product – otherwise they will lose customers.”
He said the guide is a step in the right direction for the SME as it outlines seven areas of business including: debtors reduction; stock reduction; expense reduction; sales increase; fraud reduction; carbon emission reduction; and payroll efficiency.
It provides information on business improvement in key areas such as staff education, CRM, systems automation, payment systems and BI.