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Storing data is very important but will not result in any benefit or competitive advantage unless the SME takes that data, starts analysing it and studying patterns in it, and uses it to draw up business strategies. So apart from the database, the SMEs need to invest in or outsource analytical tools and skills in order to explore the information for potential benefits. This again reflects the need for knowledge and skills related to ICT.

SMEs thus need to build their ICT systems in an enterprising manner for effective customer relationship management (CRM). to gain a 360 degree view of their customers.

5.8 General recommendations

In summary, the recommendations for SMEs to overcome barriers improve implementation of ICT in their businesses are as follows:

and

SMEs should invest in educating their staff and management about and its benefits. They should invest in recruiting or outsourcing knowledgeable specialists. They should build a culture that is favourable to technology innovative. ICT decisions should be informed and based on ICT knowledge.

ICT

ICT

and

Based on the literature review, the following general steps to using ICT as a competitive tool are suggested: Step 1: Set up ICT strategy based on the business goal and objectives. Step 2: Make sure the ICT strategy is aligned with the business strategy. Step 3: Identify the role that ICT will be playing within the SME, using the focus-dominance model (Figure 2 in Section 3.8.1).

MIT 840

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