The gap between the development of small business and technology Strategies
Companies have mostly two separate ways of developing their businesses:
- Business development
- ICT development.
Both development activities are strategic choices and they also need strategic decisions. But before clarifying the gap between business and ICT strategies, the relationship between them should first be clarified. Ward and Griffiths (1996) have presented the relationships between business, information system and information technology strategies. There is evidently a gap between business and technology development. The companies have their business architecture, the basis for all business. Companies have their chosen business models and structures. This means that smaller companies also need strategy management, which leads the company in the right direction. Companies chosen business models are dependent on their core business. Companies, furthermore, have individual structures, locations, types of organization and soon. The business architecture also includes networking and partnership aspects, i.e. how companies are networked and partnerships created with other companies. All these aspects should be a part of the small business vision.
The business vision clarifies future aspects, i.e. what the company will be like after few years. The business roadmap therefore clarifies the development path towards the vision state. The main idea in ICT utilization in business is that a company needs a technology vision as well as its business vision. Companies should clarify their data administration vision: which kind of solutions best fits the company and what the best solutions for support business are. The present state is usually known, so a company needs to clarify the technology roadmap, i.e. the kind of investments needed to achieve the vision state of technology. After the creating a vision and a roadmap, the company should have a clear idea about the technology development actions required. These were the building blocks of technology architecture. These are the basic elements for competitive business and they should be strategically managed and developed.
But there is still a gap between these two strategic development activities. The gap is firstly evident in implementation. SMME’s do not have a clear idea of how to implement new business models or new enabling technologies. The gap could lie in research and development (R&D), so that companies manage business and ICT separately and the overall business benefits are lost. Companies do not have a common research framework to achieve.