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It's a well known fact that IT has become essential for every organization today, be it small, medium, or large. The difficulty lies in understanding how it can be put to effective use. While large enterprises have the budgets to allocate manpower to identify the right technologies and implement them, it's the SMEs that face all the trouble. They don't understand technology, nor do they have the required time or energy to learn it. As a result, most SME clusters still consider IT as a cost center, and are therefore skeptical about investing in it.

How do you get out of this problem?

One way is by having an IT champion in the company, who is given the responsibility of interacting with all business heads to understand their concerns. This person would then be in the best position to recommend the appropriate IT solutions to combat the concerns. More importantly, since the person has already established a rapport with all the business heads, getting a buy-in to implement technology would also be easier. If for instance, you can convince the CFO of your company that you can help cut down specific costs significantly by implementing a particular technology, then the rest would be much easier. The CFO would then champion your cause.

The other way is to take IT to the board level in the company, so that it's discussed as seriously as any other business line of the organization. Being driven from the top will bring some seriousness toward using IT in the organization, and reduce resistance to change among business users.

Third, avoid copying what others have done blindly. This was the mistake that most large enterprises did many years ago, wherein they simply implemented whatever technology their competitor was using, or fell for something because their close friend or relative recommended it. As a result, the deployment failed, leading to losses. So it's not necessary that the technology that has worked for someone else will also work for you.

So choose technology with care and clearly understand the impact it will have on your business. Though most of these statements are generic, they often tend to be ignored by SMEs.

In this story, we've covered six industry clusters, the business challenges they face, and some IT solutions that can help alleviate those challenges. Plus, we've also done a survey of some Indian SMEs to understand what sort of technologies are they planning to deploy in the future. This could be used as a reference point to plan out your own IT strategy moving forward.

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