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use is mostly telephones and standalone computers for Internet purposes. Two of the respondents, Tlase Technologies and Hype Technologies cc, have a network environment, as they are more technology-based companies. They use their networked environment to provide services such as Internet and sharing of work with clients and partners.

4.5.3 Awareness of ICT

Almost all the respondents have some sense of understanding of IT and what the benefit might be, but not enough. They do not know ICT and how it differs from IT. They find IT/ICT complicated and do not want to try to understand it. However, none of them has any idea what the knowledge economy is. They do not have dedicated IT or ICT staff to carry out the ICT-related responsibilities. The majority of the respondents generally use friends and family who know a bit about IT/ICT to help or give advice. Their awareness level is very low. This problem is discussed in chapter 5.

4.5.4 Decision-making process with regards to ICT

All the respondents indicated that they are the main decision makers in their business with regard to all decisions, including ICT. All of them said that when there is a need for technology implementation, they go to IT shops to get advice on the matter or they ask friends and family that have knowledge of IT. The danger with this approach is that they rely on sales people who do not have any knowledge of their business to advise them on their ICT decision. The kind of information that the owner-manager gets from this process will not be strategic and in line with the business goals. This reflects the lack of ICT specialist in the SME as discussed in the literature review on page 27 (Lack of necessary IT skills).

Not all the respondents have dedicated ICT staff. They get help when there is a problem, generally from friends or family. Only two of the

MIT 840

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