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Challenges Faced By SME in a Virtual World

ICT Literacy

The new way of running a business is
not as simple as changing clothes in the dressing room. The literacy level from
three keys groups : company owners, employees and consumers especially, has slowed
down this conversion process.

Lack of knowledge regarding the
undisputed benefits of ICT among members of the top management makes the
possibility to select an appropriate technology in assisting the business
process even more difficult. SMEs in Malaysia have yet to discover the
importance of ICT in the current environtment, which plays a very crucial role
in the expansion phase of their companies. Many of them are still unfamilliar
with operating a computer, and won’t take this risk as an opportunity to
enhance their competitive edge.

The problem is also faced by
employees if the company decied to adopt ICT in running its daily oepration.
Costly training in mastering the new system will pose a challenge to the
management, if the employee could’nt master what has been thought to them. What
is supposed to ease a specific task will then become a nightmare, and suddenly
demotivates the employees from performing well.

Consumer knowledge in ICT is
something that is beyond the provider’s control. But the current scenario shows
that internet usage in Malaysia is rising rapidly. Thus, the prospect is
increasing by the day. It has to be a matter of time before users would be able
to fully utilise the systems featured by the company on the net.

Security Matters

Security is the most talked-about
issue when making transactions on the internet. Making a secure and private
transaction is not only crucial to the consumer, but will determine how
effective the interface on the website is, or if the information regarding customer
privacy is well protected, and how the company should act if any problem is
encoutered.

Banking service providers have
engaged web security provider in order to keep their onlien applications from
being intruded. Certification from this kind of security service providers
allows the user to have more faith that all the transactions and particulars
are in safe hands.

Government Initiatives

To ensure that SMEs move towards
adopting ICT, the Government itself has to be very well-equipped with all the necessary.

The Malaysian Government has
introduced many initiatives involving ICT applications to local businesses.
Whilst not entirely converting all the processes into the electronic mode, it
is useful in expediting business between the Government and the public. For
instance, the e-Procurement system accelerates the process of Government
purchasing, and provides a better and more transparent service.

To ensure growth among SMEs through
the adoption of ICT, the provision of a legal, policy and regulatory framework
for this particular purpose is very important. While there are plenty of
opportunities and challenges yet to be discovered, this initiative is able to
secure the company from any uncertainties, whilst providing a standard
operating system which promotes information sharing among businesses.

In conclusion, it is hoped that
nurturing SMEs from the early stage to adopt ICT utilisation would help them to
become larger companies in the future, which in turn will result in better
contribution to the national economy.

Source
: www.infoentrepreneurs.org

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