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The different roles that support ICT, such as one to introduce technology or maintain it, also need to be established. Technology planners like architects are also very important, as they are the ones who develop the architecture or technology blueprint based on the business goals and objectives. They look at issues like scalability, technology platforms, creating models, future growth, etc.

The findings validate the significant role that ICT knowledge and skills play. All the interviewed SMEs agree that they do not know much about ICT or knowledge economy, but they recognise the impact that ICT is making on the economy. They highlight a lack of ICT skills as a critical obstacle to their business using ICT as a competitive tool.

Recommendations The first thing that needs to happen is that SMEs must establish ICT as a functional area, just like the functional areas of finance or human resources. By doing so, they will be recognising ICT as an important function that deserves to be taken seriously.

Once that is done they need to identify fitting roles for this function and establish their specifications, to know what abilities, skills and experience they are looking for when they want to fill the roles. When looking for staff to fill the positions they should make sure that they get people with the right qualifications and experience to do the job.

If the problem is that an SME cannot afford someone with the required skills, then it could hire a consultant who can give advice and training. The objective will be to get a consulting company that understands both ICT and the business aspect. The recent article on Itweb by Perry, entitled “SMEs get CIO-on-call”, discusses this option. Perry also confirms the need for ICT strategic-level thinking within the SMEs. He highlights

MIT 840

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