Many small and medium-sized enterprises do not see the return on their investment in IT very often. This is because they have either purchased expensive and complicated solutions that do not answer to their specific business requirements or, the solutions have not been correctly implemented and integrated with their existing infrastructure.
That is according to Raj Rajakanthan, technical director at Ciber Terrasoft, a South African-based company that provides customised off-the-shelf or bespoke software solutions for small to medium sized companies. He says that while there are small to medium-sized businesses or non-profit organisations looking for an IT solution to meet their unique requirements, there are, on the other hand, numerous software vendors selling solutions that, to a business without the necessary expertise or knowledge, may appear to be the answer to their problems. “What commonly happens is that many of these organisations end-up purchasing solutions that do not fulfil their expectations and add unnecessary complexity to the business.”
It is Rajankanthan’s contention that, without the necessary know-how or support, the solutions are not implemented properly. “This results in wasted expenditure which could impact on the company’s profitability,” he explains.
He believes that smaller businesses can benefit significantly – not to mention reduce the risks associated with investing in new IT solutions – if they seek the advice of qualified consultants who are objective and equipped with the necessary expertise to guide them in their IT investment decisions.
“Small and medium size businesses usually do not have the same big budgets and cash flows available as larger corporations; and making the wrong decision can therefore cost them dearly. For this reason, an independent consultant can provide value-adding insight to assist smaller organisations in selecting the most appropriate solution or combination of solutions to meet their business requirements. An added benefit would be to provide the advice and the necessary support to implement the solutions and integrate them with their existing infrastructure. This is particularly relevant for companies that do not have the resources in-house to guide them,” says Rajakanthan.
Rajakanthan explains that for any business looking to invest in IT, it is important to select a solution that not only meets their current business requirements and budget, but also has scalability so that it can grow with the business.
“This is where companies sometimes fall short. They invest in a solution that seems to have everything they want, with little forethought to whether or not the solution has the ability to grow with the business. This is another area where an IT consultant will be able to provide valuable insight which could end-up saving companies lots of money in the future,” he says.
Rajakanthan advises companies seeking to enlist the help of a consultant to do their homework to ensure that the partner they choose is independent and also has the necessary expertise and credentials.