e-skills UK launches tool to help small businesses make the most of IT
A service to help smaller firms increase their productivity and competitiveness through technology has been launched today (19 July 2007) by e-skills UK. It will be available first in South Yorkshire through Yorkshire Forward and Business Link.
The ICT Yorkshire Business IT Guide is designed to help businesses understand what technology is relevant to their particular organisation, and support them in taking the necessary action to achieve business benefits. It covers topics ranging from developing a website, implementing security and investing in hardware and software, to using technology to enhance sales and customer relationships and manage communications.
Karen Price, CEO, e-skills UK said:
“Technology can transform a small business. It has the power to improve efficiency, open up new markets and enhance customer service. But for many smaller firms it can be difficult to know where to start. Our research has found that many small businesses don’t know where to go for trusted and impartial information about introducing and managing new technology. They can get lost in all the jargon; and they worry about resource and skills implications and what the business will do if the technology doesn’t work properly. In addition, they are unsure about how to plan for growth and changing needs.
“The Business IT Guide was developed by e-skills UK with employers for employers. It addresses these concerns and provides small companies with a user-friendly, accessible tool that enables them to make the most of technology for business success. We are delighted to be launching the Guide in partnership with Yorkshire Forward and Business Link.”
Who is the Guide for?
Version 1 of the Guide is aimed at micro businesses (1-9 staff). The two main reasons for this are that businesses of this size are the most likely to need IT support due to a lack of internal expertise and also; there are 1.6 million of these businesses – making up 85% of the economy – so there is a lot of help required! The strategy has been to focus on delivering the areas of technology that are most commonly applicable across the largest majority of this group.
Hence there has been a focus on ICT infrastructure and basic business applications that can be used across all sectors. By concentrating on common areas of IT and in using the Internet to deliver the advice and support; we are able to help potentially tens of thousands of small businesses. The Guide will be of most use to those that are broadly speaking ‘willing and able’; that is, businesses that are interested in exploiting IT but need support in doing so. It is not yet designed to help those with no individual IT literacy and nor is it designed to convince those totally against IT that there is benefit in using it.
The Business IT Guide will be freely available to small businesses in Nations and Regions where it has been adopted and funded by the relevant business support infrastructure.
Help us continue to get it right by providing input. We are always keen to hear from small businesses, particularly if you:
- Are interested in testing and reviewing demonstration versions of the Guide
- Have ideas as to what additional content and advice should be included in the Guide
- Would like to share with us experiences of technology usage within your business (good and bad!)
To get in touch, in the first instance please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakeholders interested in more general information relating to the programme can download documents from this site and can contact email@example.com with specific questions.
3. Business Support organisations
Business support organisations interested in supporting the use of the Guide with small businesses should also contact firstname.lastname@example.org