knowing that a client has done a certain kind of business with the company, allows the company to follow up on the last service and offer more related solutions. Alexander (2008) explains that you can link your CRM solution with your IP phone, so when a client calls, it pops up the client’s history window. Thus before you answer you already know a lot about the person phoning, and you can address them by name, thus improving the customer’s experience.
Unified messaging. This “is a solution that streamlines business communication, enabling employees to send and retrieve their voice mail, e-mail and fax messages from one device – either their computer or IP phone” (Alexander, 2008:5). The main benefit of unified messaging is saving time and money by viewing all messages on one device. There are free or very cheap solutions that can be downloaded from the world wide web.
Ways in which SMEs could use ICT to become competitive
Schubert and Leimstoll (2007) touch on an important question, that of ICT value. According to Schubert and Leimstoll (2007), there are two schools of thought with regard to the issue of ICT value. The one, known as Porter’s theories, says that ICT adds value to SMEs and the other, known as Millar’s theories, believes that ICT does not really add any value since it is a commodity, just like electricity, available to everyone. In conclusion they agree that competitiveness of an SME depends on the ways in which ICT is used to support business processes. So having ICT implemented in a business does not necessarily give the business any competitive advantage, but having it linked to the business processes and strategy will most likely give a competitive advantage.
In general it appears that SMEs that employ ICT according to the critical success factors below have a better chance of becoming commercially successful,
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