Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Emerging Markets cannot afford the high cost of computers and software. Yet, to survive and thrive in the Internet Age, they need to use computing, communications and software. They are part of the supply chains of larger companies, they face competition not just within their country but from other players globally. So, it is important for these enterprises to use technology to empower become intelligent and real-time, so that employees can be empowered to make decisions rapidly and the decision-makers have all the necessary information available to them from across the value chain.
What are the characteristics of this Intelligent, Real-Time Enterprise? A viewpoint from an Asera (http://www.asera.com) white paper:
The Real-time Enterprise facilitates spontaneous transaction flow and information transparency throughout the extended enterprise, minimizing latency and labor. The Real-Time Enterprise:
- Provides 24×7 availability, flexible demand-driven scalability, security and administration
- Enhances revenue through superior market access, intelligence and time-to-revenue
- Reduces costs by streamlining every process using the Web
- Decreases excess inventory through improved analytics
- Enables device-independent mobile commerce
- Makes its information transparent
- Assumes a dynamic network, enabling instant collaboration and low-cost, real-time interaction
- Uses a distributed architecture that works with the applications, systems and processes a business already has in place
- Allows non-intrusive customization and configuration, enabling businesses to better differentiate their brand
- Is highly adaptive-because change is constant and it happens fast
- Integrates data, applications and workflow
- Gives customers a single user interface across disparate applications
Small or big, every enterprise needs to think of how it can leverage technology to embed intelligence in its processes and leverage real-time information. The challenge for SMEs is to do so in a cost-efficient manner. What SMEs need is a new technology infrastructure – both hardware and software – which can help them create the foundation for the Intelligent, Real-Time Enterprise.
One of the key requirements for the real-time enterprise is to ensure that the power of computing and communications are available to each and every employee. Email, for example, is not effective if half the enterprise has it and the other half does not. The limited availability of computing infrastructure also reduces the demand for bandwidth and applications which can work across the enterprise. Organisations need to adopt technology as “DNA”, if they have to become more competitive in the face of increasing international competition.
Enterprise Software: Messaging, Collaboration and eBusiness are the key applications which an enterprise needs. Value-added email is the killer application. Collaboration enables information to be shared across the enterprise. eBusiness applications are at the heart of the processes – within the enterprise, and in its interactions with other enterprises.
Enterprise Hardware: The Enterprise Server on the LAN becomes the hub of the enterprise. In the “bandwidth-challenged” emerging markets, the Server becomes the computing service provider. It has the applications and data, which can also be replicated on servers on the Internet. The Enterprise Client is a low-cost, wireless device (like PDAs) which is available to everyone in the organization, and connects to the Server. Shared monitors with keyboards provide the big screens necessary to view attachments.