multimillion-dollar company. Now Barnes & Noble has copied the Amazon model of selling books over the Internet to stay competitive and relevant to its clients.
22.214.171.124 Competitive advantage
SMEs realise that ICT can give them competitive advantage over their competitors. Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx supports this statement by saying that the Internet tends to make a company more competitive (Jackson, 2007). Jackson (2007) emphasises that emerging ICT technology, if used, is most likely to result in a competitive advantage. This competitive advantage is a result of the innovation and flexibility that ICT affords SMEs. This means it will be easier for SMEs to come up with new and creative products and services that are quick to implement, given the decision-making structure of SMEs as opposed to that of larger companies.
3.5 South African SMEs
According to Mutula and Brakel (2006), 69% of South African SMEs have three or more PCs, and of these 87% do not use the Internet to buy products. This means that there is a huge growth potential for South African SMEs to use Internet and networking technologies. In 2003 more than 12 000 SMEs in South Africa were reported to be using ICTs (Mutula & Brakel 2006:408). According to Shiels, McIvor and O’Reilly (2003:313), the Internet is an “effective channel for advertising, marketing and even direct distribution of certain goods and services”.
South Africa is a developing country going through a growth period and exploiting different technologies. According to the World Wide Worx survey on SMEs, there is a huge advantage to be obtained from the use of emerging ICT technologies, particularly Internet connectivity and mobility. Emerging technologies such as VoIP are taking advantage of the converging markets and changing the landscape of business. South African SMEs especially should explore mobile
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