specialized information services such as distance consulting, continuous training, new advisory modes, etc.” (Fulantelli & Allegra 2003:45).
Organisations use ICT for diverse purposes in order to complement their business model. Thus ICT can be categorised into different groupings from the business, or in this case SME, point of view, according to Lucchetti and Sterlacchini (2004). Depending on the business strategy an SME can choose a specific category as its ICT direction.
3.2.1 Categorisation of ICT for SMEs
Lucchetti and Sterlacchini (2004) categorise ICT into the following groupings: general-user, production-integration and market-oriented groups. These categorisations relate to the roles of ICT or the strategic position that ICT can play within a particular SME.
The SME’s owner or owner-manager needs to understand the value that ICT can add to the business and then place it within one or more of the following groups:
General-user ICT group. This is the basic ICT implementation, which includes e-mail and Internet. The rates of adoption at this level are generally high and do not depend on the size of the business. At this level technology is being introduced into the business in small doses and is not coordinated.
This also includes standalone ICT, meaning “PCs used for the purpose that does not require communication technology” (Galloway & Mochrie, 2005:34). They emphasise that adopting standalone ICT applications can meet specific needs of the business like financial planning, customer record-keeping and developing marketing material. Many authors on this topic,
Page 13 of 73