TECH TALK: SMEs and Technology: 1:1 Enterprise

What is the roadmap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt technology and become 1:1 Enterprises? The assumption being made here is that most SMEs are relatively IT immature: in most cases, while there are computers, they are being used sub-optimally. The most common usage for computer ends up being for emailing, web browsing, documentation and printing, and accounting, and little else. This can be considered as task automation employees doing specific tasks are using computers to automate what they are doing. As a result, not everyone has computers in the organisation only those who are doing important tasks are given the PCs.

There is a 4-step roadmap to migrate these IT babies to 1:1 Enterprises, who are making use of computers effectively to regulate and automate information flows and make the SMEs event-driven, real-time enterprises. The first step is focus on how to best use the desktop applications to improve individual productivity, the second step is to install a server which takes care of the backend infrastructure, the third step is to provide computers for all employees, and the final step is to deploy the productivity for information and business process management.

1. Increasing Personal Productivity using Computers

We have to begin with individual productivity. Amazingly, we are not even taught how to use the tools at our disposal. Right from the email client to the way we should store our files, no one tells us anything. We just kind-of-figure things along the way. What is needed is a methodology to best use the tools that are available with us. Here are some simple pointers:

  • Managing Email: Try and answer an email within one business day. Do not move it from the Inbox till you have answered it. Just have one folder: Keep. Anything that you need to store, put it in there. So, now there are only 2 folders to search Keep and the Sent folder. One does not have to worry about managing lots of folders, and making a decision for each email as to where it needs to be filed.
  • Managing Personal Information: Keep a personal blog and outline, so that notes made can be searchable.
  • Maintaining an Address Book and Online Calendar. Keeping business card information electronically in a database all we need is for someone to do the data entry can help in getting the information quickly when we need it.
  • Use of Instant Messaging for the quickie communications. This is especially useful if someone calls, and one needs to do a check with a colleague.
  • Backup. Ensuring that all critical files are backed up on to secondary storage, just in case.

    This is just for starters. Basically, we need to give people tips on how to use technology and make themselves more productive. It makes better use of the investment in technology that has already been made. Only, if they develop the right personal habits can we move on to making groups productive.

    Tomorrow: 1:1 Enterprise (continued)

    TECH TALK SMEs and Technology+T

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.