HOW ICT SAVVY IS YOUR ORGANISATION

ict savvy

Companies, Offices, and Organisations are increasingly reliant on information and communication technology (ICT) to perform efficiently. SIG Innovation has decided to integrate and develop an ICT consultancy framework with audits, assessments and action plans to assist organisations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. 

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  • Website
  • Blog
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Account
  • Google Places

To me these are the bare minimum for a reasonable online presence. Please note result depends how well you use these tools. Having online presence only will not generate business for you. It is just like opening a high street shop does not guarantee that you will get business. New business generation depends on how well you market your shop online or offline.
Therefore, customers are getting more and more demanding and want to interact with the businesses using new communication tools before they decide to buy. For this you need a two way communication tools such as website with a blog and social media properties such as Facebook page and twitter account.

Why Small Businesses Need Online Presence
World has changed whether you accept it or not.
Vast majority of customers do not look for phone directories or yellow pages any more when looking for new product and services. Because customers wants to see what other people say about any business they are going to do business with.
This is not possible to find out from phone directory or yellow pages alone.
Therefore, people find businesses online and like to check reviews before deciding to do business with any one.
They are expecting smart phone users reaching to one billion by 2013. Can you ignore this number? I doubt it.
Customers find businesses on the smart phone and if you are not on there you are missing out big time.

How It Will Effect Your Business
Your brick and mortar only business has geographical boundaries, whereas online presence give you the freedom to sell potentially across the globe as long as you can deliver.
Some of the benefits of having a good online presence
1. Power to sell more through another powerful channel
2. Potential to sell all over the world
3. Social Media tools help word of mouth marketing
4. Potential of make a system and sell on auto pilot
5. Low operating expense compare to brick & mortar business
I am sure you can add to the benefits list if you are already leveraging internet to increase your business.

You May Have Different Views
These are my views and you may have different point of view. Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below.
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Content Management Site (CMS)

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CMS is a system that manages the content of your website. In simple words, a CMS will allow you to update your website contents easily and smartly.

Business owners normally find it difficult to keep their website content as up to date as they would like. Often there are delays getting new content online, the site stagnates and your clients get to see outdated information.

USING CMS YOU CAN MANAGE THE CONTENT OF YOUR WEBSITE EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE WEB DESIGNING TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE.

A CMS web presence allows you to manage your website even if you have no technical knowledge, experience with HTML or web site design.

It also reduces the calls to your web design agency or IT department for changes to the website. 

CMS reduces the time required to publish, allowing you to get your content on-line faster. This is a very important issue for any professional website.

CMS REDUCES THE TIME REQUIRED TO PUBLISH, ALLOWING YOU TO GET YOUR CONTENT ON-LINE FASTER

At the front of a content management system is an easy-to-use authoring environment, designed to work like Word. This provides a non-technical way of creating new pages or updating content, without having to know any HTML.

The CMS also allows you to manage the structure of the site. That is, where the pages go, and how they are linked together and also allow you to upload file and images to your web server while maintaining website security, layout and design intact.

Once a page has been created, it is saved into the CMS database, along with the other supporting details, and once the content is in the repository, it can then be published out on the Internet.

Open Source CMS vs Proprietary

There’s no doubt that an Open Source CMS solution can meet the needs of a range of different size businesses. The low cost (no license fees), freedom of open standards and customization make it a winning option for many that decide to venture down the Open Source route.

However, what’s often left out of the equation is the issue of costs. While an Open Source CMS appears to be free on the surface it is far from it when you consider the time and resources required to customize and support the business.

The real costs of an Open Source CMS solution usually becomes visible only during implementation. When you consider the time it can take to customize an Open SourceCMS, the costs can easily outstrip the costs of a proprietary system that delivers the functionality in one solution.

WE DEVELOPED A PROPRIETARY CMS TO SUITS THE REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICATION OF OUR CLIENTS WEBSITE, USING AN INTUITIVE AND USER FRIENDLY INTERFACE TO MANAGE THE WEBSITE CONTENT.

CMS vs. Static Website

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A static website is an HTML base website created by a web designer, the only way to update the web content is to alter the HTML pages and that requires some knowledge in HTML editing and interaction with the web host server (usually via FTP).

While CMS is best for websites that publish new content regularly, other website’s owners with small number of pages that do not update the content frequently will do better if they use a static website instead.

Usually the cost for a static website is significantly lower than that of a CMS based website and since update frequency is low the only ongoing cost will be web hosting and domain name registration.

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Who Needs a Website

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The short answer is; every business need a website, for the simple reason that many clients prefer to find out information that way. 

A website doesn’t replace the telephone, but adds to the reach. If a prospect can find out from your website the services you provide and your contact details, you’re ahead of the game.

EVERY BUSINESS NEED A WEBSITE! IF YOU DON’T HAVE A WEBSITE, GET ONE.

This article will list the various reasons to have a website and also guide the reader to select the the type of website that is most suitable for his / hers business.

Advertise your Company or Product

The Internet is recognised as one of the most cost effective forms of advertising available – soon every business will appear there in some form, and if your competitors get there first, then you could be missing out on potentially valuable custom.

The Internet can be an excellent way to promote your company or a product, but it needs to be used along with traditional ways of advertising.

With so many websites out there and 100’s more being created everyday it becomes harder and harder to promote your site on the Internet.

The best way to promote your product is to use traditional advertising and let potential customers know they can find out more information through your website.

Attract these potential customers into you website by offering specials and prises and give them information on your company or products while they are there.

Extended Business Card for your company

Now this is something that maybe worth considering even for those companies that would otherwise never need or want a website.

This type of site is usually small and quite cheap with just one or two pages just giving a customer or business associate a little bit more information about your company than you can fit on your business card.

It will also gives your business a professional and technologically advanced image.

IF YOUR CLIENTS KNOW WHAT YOU DO BEFORE THEY RING, THE CONVERSATION WILL BE SHORTER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE.

Display information about your services and products

A website can be an excellent way to keep your customers informed about the new products and services and provide information to new and potential clients.

Instead of using the phone or sending information by mail, you can easily direct your clients to your website where you can display all the required information.

You can also use your website as an additional form of contact information for your business and can add an enquiry web form to answer additional queries or more information.

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The Internet and your Business

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I guess this might sound kinda vague, but not to worry as i will do my best to help you make a meaning of this.

the internet is also known as an international network i.e and international means of of connecting to individuals in different works of life, hence it is a network.

in Nigeria, people consider you a scam if you are fond of browising the internet but what they fail to understand is that there is more than meets the eye. The has revolutionized the way the world does business on both a local and global level. From recruiting employees to gathering data on the competition, the ways businesses utilize the Internet are numerous, as are the benefits of the Internet to the business community.

Globalization

While computers have been blamed for decreased activity and interaction in the local community, the Internet has been credited with providing a window into the global world. It allows anyone with a computer to think globally and has allowed the business world to forge international relationships with new vendors (to lower costs) and new customers (to increase sales).

Communication

100 years ago it might have taken over a month to get a letter to a friend in another country. Today, communication is as easy as a mouse click, and much cheaper too. Anyone in the world can communicate with another person through text messages, emails, and even live video. For business, this means higher efficiency and quicker processing of sales.

Cost Effectiveness

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of the Internet is cost savings. Information at faster speeds saves time, which either saves or makes money. Many functions in the business process, i.e. bookkeeper, have been automated, which has helped to streamline processes and reduce the cost of labor.

this and many more benefits are attached to the your business with internet services….

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Business Networking Tips

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Networking is making contacts and giving people the chance to help you in a way that’s mutually beneficial. For your business or idea, networking will help you:
•    Expand your contacts
•    Broaden your outlook by expose your to a wider range of ideas and information
•    Help you find staff or board members: around half of all vacancies are filled through different forms of networking.

Getting started
Your network is already wider than you think. You do not have to know the ‘right people’, but by meeting one new person you add several new layers to your network. Remember the adage about six degrees of separation: your new acquaintance may know the ‘right’ person.
•    Try to attend an event once a month
•    Make at least two new contacts per month
•    Do not go to events with friends: you need to meet new people.

Events
Those who network do so because they want to be there, they want new business, they want to meet new contacts and they understand the initial pressures of joining a group. With this in mind you should approach one of the key organizers and get them to introduce you to possible sources of business.

Recognising the networking types
•    The Newbie Stands alone, smiles inanely, go to the toilet, the bar, the buffet table: anything to avoid talking to someone. The newbie does want to be here and if you are a fellow nervous newbie, is a good person to start talking to.
•    The Amateur Takes unhealthy interest in your business, has a crazy business vision of their own, is unshakeable. Seeks you out at every meeting.
•    The Pro Has been networking forever and knows how to milk their contacts and friends.
•    The Networker Usually has a successful business, and enjoys being at networking events for the buzz and of course, the opportunities. This person will look after the newbie; introductions will follow and will also offer a bit of mentoring (as they probably do all day long in their own business).

Practical tips
•    Get a list of names of who’s going to be at the event so you can target the people you want to meet
•    Do your homework before the event so you have opinions about what is being discussed
•    Get people’s names right
•    Exchange business cards
•    Come armed with a few stock questions
•    Keep abreast of the news and have opinions ready
•    Don’t get drunk
•    If the person you would like to talk to is in the middle of a group, start on the outskirts and work your way in
•    Aim to interest people in who you are and what you can do rather than blatantly trying to sell yourself.

Etiquette
•    Reciprocity is essential. This is a give-and-take situation.
•    Never make promises you cannot keep: it’s easy to try and please in this environment.
•    Links may become broken or obsolete. Check them regularly and repair or renew areas that need attention.
•    Get people’s names right
•    Follow up meetings with a letter of thanks.

10 Essential Tip for Business Networking
1. Elevator speech.    Describe yourself concisely and impressively.
2. Be different.    Differentiate yourself. Aim high. Be best at something.
3. Help others.    Help others and you will be helped.
4. Personal integrity.    Integrity, trust and reputation are vital for networking.
5. Relevant targeting.    Groups and contacts relevant to your aims and capabilities.
6. Plans and aims.    Plan your networking – and know what you want.
7. Follow up.    Following up meetings and referrals makes things happen.
8. Be positive.    Be a positive influence on everyone and everything.
9. Sustained focused effort.    Be focused – and ever-ready.
10. Life balance.    Being balanced and grounded builds assurance.

e-business Concept

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e-Business is not primarily about technology (even if the part technology plays in ICT is anything but trivial), but about optimally managing internal processes, and relationships with suppliers, customers and business partners in a complex and often global competitive environment.

It is part of a company’s business strategy; the way a company uses e-business is essentially part of its business model. For instance, the decision whether or not to offer products online is part of the distribution strategy, and the use of e-procurement systems must be embedded in the overall procurement strategy of a company.

Traditionally, many SMEs adopt the basic ICT model, but EU commissioned research indicates that this approach has little impact on the operations SMEs. ICT is categorized as basic, advanced and transforming they have varying impacts on SME operations.

Basic ICT use – little organizational impact

ICT use has become commonplace in modern business. Nearly all companies use e-mail. Many have a website, and some of them offer basic e-commerce services on their website. These basic ICT applications do not have a significant impact on how the company operates, i.e. on its processes or business model.

Many SMEs in manufacturing sectors, notably in the more traditional industries, use ICT on the basic level. There are low investments in technology at this basic level and consequently gains in process efficiency and cost savings are limited. For the average SME, this use of ICT may be optimal, provided that they are not forced by large buyers to upgrade their e-business capabilities.

Advanced e-business activity – significant impact on business processes

“Advanced” e-business means that companies can exchange data electronically with suppliers or customers based on e-business standards. This is the precondition that allows ICT systems to automatically process data (without having to manually key them into the system).

Taking the step from basic to advanced e-business must, however, be well planned and is not without challenges. For most companies, this innovation has significant organizational and financial implications.

Implementing an advanced e-business system may need new, advanced, ICT systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SCM (Supply Chain Management)systems; implementation of organizational standards and new ways of organizing business data whilst making sure that the new systems are aligned with their actual business processes.

E-Business transformation – new business models and value chains

ICT has affected some business sectors more than others, in particular the ICT services industry, tourism, financial services, publishing and the logistics industry. In these industries, the role of ICT and e-business goes far beyond improving process efficiency.

ICT, and in particular the internet, have had a profound impact on value chains, including the emergence of new players. Many companies have to adapt their business model in order to stay in business.

In tourism, for example, the internet makes it possible for service providers to interact directly with tourism customers, which puts enormous pressure on traditional market intermediaries (travel agencies and tour operators).

At the same time, the internet facilitates market entry, as players can operate exclusively online. In publishing, the advertising and sales revenues of newspaper publishers are decreasing as many young people of the “internet-generation” do not subscribe to a printed newspaper. Convergence of services, multi-channel publishing and the offer of mobile services are some of the catchwords that attempt to give a concrete character to future developments in this sector.

E-business presents opportunities and challenges for all business models. Reducing the threats to your business whilst increasing the opportunities will depend on a myriad of factors within the business and externally, either from competition or the market.

e-business challenges

Lack of ICT and e-business skills

Smaller firms sometimes lack a coherent ICT investment strategy or the related skills – partly because of the relatively high cost of employing ICT practitioners. ICT strategy and implementation critically depends on the respective skills of the management. The speed of developments in this field adds to the challenge.

Complying with different ICT requirements.

Although large companies tend to be supportive of SMEs, they can use their power to impose ICT standards and systems upon small supply companies. In B2B exchanges, small firms may therefore be forced to comply with different systems in parallel.

Rising customer expectations

In the internet era, customers increasingly expect to be offered a wide range of information and services online. It can be a challenge for smaller companies to meet these service levels.

e-business opportunities

Access to international markets.

E-Commerce is an opportunity for many smaller companies to do expand their market area. In order to exploit what can be a very rewarding opportunity; SMEs need to invest in planning, ICT systems, training and implementation of standards.

ICT usage facilitates cooperation.

SMEs need to cooperate, for example by building networks. ICT usage facilitates cooperation in many ways (e.g. through project management tools, or online collaboration tools for design).

Affordable ICT solutions.

ICT vendors and user communities have developed more and better solutions which are targeted to the needs of SMEs in recent years, for example smaller-sized ERP and CRM software packages and free to use or GNU license enterprise software packages. Costs are no longer the main barrier.

Support from large firms.

The economic impact of any communication technology depends critically on the number of users connected. Large companies therefore have a strong incentive to connect with their smaller trading partners in order to reap the full benefits of e-business.