follow after every discussion of the group. Finally there will be general recommendations of the whole chapter.
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The findings from the SMEs’ replies to the questionnaire reflect the need for further investigation on how SMEs can achieve understanding of the knowledge economy and the effect of ICT on it. The majority of the participants agree that to a large extent they rely on technology to run their businesses. They have basic ICT technologies implemented at their businesses, such as telephone, fax and point-of-sale (POS) devices, and some have Internet access.
When examining the answers it appears that the implementation of ICT has not been done from a strategic point of view, but is based more on specific needs that the SME has or might have. The fact that all the respondents indicated that they do not know anything about the knowledge economy and also that they have highlighted lack of knowledge as a problem, confirms that these SMEs implement ICT because of market forces rather than from a strategic point of view. Perry’s (2007) article entitled “SMEs get CIO-on-call” touches on the fact that ICT decisions for most SMEs are not based on business strategy but on short-term requirements. Unlike big businesses, SMEs do not have a CIO or someone playing this role to make ICT decisions from a strategic point of view.
This situation is aggravated by the fact that almost all the SMEs are managed by the owners, who make all the decisions in the business, as highlighted in the questionnaire. The problem is that unless they come from an ICT background, the owners do not have any experience or knowledge of ICT and are intimidated by technology, as one respondent pointed out. Age may play a role in this, as most of the interviewed candidates were 35 years and above; further studies
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