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School of Information Technology, University of Pretoria - page 59 / 73





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The research tries to answer the question:

“How can SMEs use ICT to become competitive in South Africa?”

The research is based on the assumption we are in the new economy known as the “knowledge economy”, with ICT as the lifeblood. The most important asset in this new economy is knowledge, which is what we sell and buy. The products are more knowledgeable and the customer demands smart products. Businesses have invested a lot of money in ICT and have been exploiting it to be ahead of their competitors.

ICT is an enormous subject which covers, amongst others, normal telephones, cellphones, mobile technologies, point-of-sale systems, ERP solutions, CRM solutions, the Internet, PCs and networks. ICT is an enabler for global networking and can be used in different ways, such as:

  • general-user where it is mainly used for administrative purposes

  • production-integrating where it is used to support business processes and the production of goods and services

  • market-oriented where it is used for marketing purposes and increasing the company presence on the web.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the value of ICT. One school believes that ICT is a commodity and does not add any competitive advantage to the business or SME, while the other believes that ICT does add value to the business and can give a company a competitive advantage. Both beliefs could be correct, depending from which angle you view them. Yes, when implemented haphazardly ICT might not add any value and probably will not lead to any

MIT 840

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