Using ICT as a competitive tool for SMEs in Mafikeng
Motlhanke, Malotle Donald
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In this day and age ICTs are seen as competing tools for all businesses both big and small, and if adopted and implemented properly, they can bring with them many benefits for businesses. The available literature provides substantial evidence that suggests that the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play a very significant part regarding the growth and effectiveness of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The value the results of this research paper will add to the existing literature regarding ICT adoption in South Africa, particularly in Mahikeng can amongst others be seen as follows: • The study will make available a clear indication of the current ICT adoption and usage amongst different SMEs in Mahikeng. • The research findings of this study and the recommendations will assist or make aware different SME owners of the value derived from ICT. In order to successfully compete with both big and small businesses, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) need to implement ICT as an essential part of their business. However, If SME owners continue being reluctant to embracing technological changes introduced by ICTs, for whatever reason and continue using traditional approaches to conduct business. They stand a chance of not being able to compete and grow in this increasingly competitive market resulting in the loss of customers, and ultimately the closing of their businesses. This mini dissertation reviews the available literature in order to define ICTs, SMEs and the value of ICT to an SME. This study also determines the the current adoption and use of ICT, the relationship between ICT adoption and SME growth, the importance of ICT adoption and usage by SMEs, plus potential benefits to SMEs as well as barriers hindering the adoption of ICT on different SMEs in Mafikeng.With regard to the methodology, both quantitative and qualitative research methods (mixed methods) were used in this study. Primary data was collected through the usage of questionnaires, participant observations and documents analysis, the questionnaire was randomly distributed to 100 SMEs situated in Mafikeng. In relation to the current adoption and use of ICT on different SMEs in the Mafikeng area, the researcher found that even though some basic ICT tools and technologies were used, it is clear that the usage was very low, and this assertion is true because majority of respondents themselves rated the current state of ICT adoption and usage in their SMEs as low. Regarding the relationship between ICT adoption and SME growth, findings of this study show that there is a weak relationship between these two variables. Findings of this study also show that majority of the respondents indicated that the importance and awareness of ICT in their business operations is low, meaning that respondents don't regard ICT as important in their business and are not aware of benefits of adopting ICT in their SMEs . With regards to the challenges hindering the adoption of ICT majority of the respondents in this study identified cost as the main challenge hindering the adoption of ICT.
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