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Study says hierarchical position of IT important for success of SMEs

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Small and medium manufacturing businesses that don't put IT high up in their strategy decisions are scuppering their chances of success, according to a new study.

Researchers at Concordia University in Canada looked at IT performance at 44 manufacturing SMEs (those with between 10 and 299 employees) in France and found that the role they gave to their technological applications had a direct effect on their business value.

The business school researchers said that the internet was key to surviving, much less competing, in a fragile economy, but IT applications that allowed small manufacturers to control their channel and assess the impact of their product on the market were also important.

The research showed that SMEs often leave IT to the finance or accounting department when they should be looking at technology at the management level, something many BOFH readers will know plenty about.

"We found that the role given to technological applications in a manufacturing SME's strategic plan positively affects how they perform for the business," said Anne-Marie Croteau, an associate professor in the department of decision sciences and management information systems (DSMIS) at Concordia's school of business.

"First, it affects IT performance directly, and second, it affects how IT performs in an indirect way, via its influence on how well the technology is managed but how users exploit the information made available to them through the applications," she added.

The study said that an autonomous IT with a designated manager high up on the ladder was "an indication of a sophisticated management".

The research was presented as part of the Sixth International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services. ®

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