‘If you’re an SME, and you’re not planning to invest in this, you’re not going to get customers,’ said Dominique Raviart, a senior analyst with IDC.
The researcher recommends that smaller companies invest in supply chain services, which use consultants to monitor and improve the flow of product information between companies.
SMEs will feel the squeeze from other organisations, which are deploying online procurement systems to cut their own costs, but many smaller companies still remain unconvinced of the necessity to deploy expensive IT systems.
‘Wider supply chain pressures from larger companies are not likely to affect us,’ said Simon Temple, IS operations manager with London-based oil company Nimir Petroleum, which sells its goods to major oil distributors.
‘Large enterprises would never buy directly through our site because we sell into a commodity market,” he added, explaining that online procurement would do more for Nimir’s own buying needs than its sell-side partners.
‘The cost of buying each item offline is expensive and we could save a lot of money through electronic billing,’ said Temple.
IDC reported that consulting firms are beginning to look at the SME market to improve their reach. This is likely to accelerate as corporate spending cuts affect consulting groups.
‘In two to three years’ time the market will be really growing,’ said Raviart.
- This article first appeared in Computing
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