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Step 4: Choose the adoption strategy that is right for your business, considering the nature of your business from the “small firm perspective” (Section 3.2.2).

5.9 Conclusion

The study of the ten SMEs has revealed and confirmed some of the issues with regard to the use of ICT as a competitive tool. All the owners who were interviewed have some basic ICT tools in their businesses and agree that technology plays an important part in their businesses. They also acknowledge that they have limited knowledge about ICT and the knowledge economy, which affects the ICT decision-making within the business. This study has revealed the weakness within SMEs of a lack of strategic direction with regard to ICT. ICT is often implemented for survival or compliance purposes and not strategically, which could result in a competitive advantage for the SME.

The comments on the topic of barriers confirm the findings of many authors, and also introduce uniquely South African ones such as power cuts. Basic technologies like telephone, fax, POS and Internet (in some cases) are already in place in most of the SMEs interviewed, but they are not used as an integrated solution for competitive advantage.

By employing an ICT specialist or getting an ICT consultant to help the SME owner formulate an ICT plan and strategy, decision-making in the business will improve and lead to ICT being used strategically as a competitive tool. This should see the SME becoming part of the knowledge economy.

The next chapter is the conclusion; it will summarise the mini-dissertation by making sure that all the questions have been answered and also make some recommendation of future researches based of the findings of this mini- dissertation.

MIT 840

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