Call for changes to Regional IT support from Microsoft and BCC

“Microsoft and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has delivered a set of recommendations outlining how they believe the Information Technology needs of small and growing businesses could be better supported by the current Business Link advisor system.

These recommendations were compiled in line with the Government’s continuing review of what services and support should be provided by the DTI. The BCC and Microsoft hope that by engaging in a dialogue with Government and the Regional Development Agencies (RDA) a better system of support can be provided for the IT needs of small businesses than currently exists. In addition, Microsoft welcomes the views and support of the recommendations, ‘Empowering Small Business IT Adoption: A guide for policy makers’ by other UK businesses.

Microsoft and the BCC believe the following four-point action plan should be reviewed by Government to ensure that small businesses in the UK continue to grow and have the resources to contribute to the Knowledge Economy. Microsoft believes that more needs to be facilitated by central Government, supported by the RDAs, instead of being driven solely at regional level. IT advice would benefit from greater central support and co-ordination to enable a more consistent national delivery model by the RDAs.

Awareness – A national campaign that emphasises the value of IT to Small Businesses. Given high levels of non-adoption this campaign should provide a call to action that addresses small business IT illiteracy and helps with ‘my first IT purchase.’

IT advisor accreditation – Phase out Technology Means Business, a current tool used and fund a nationwide scheme of accreditation for IT advisors, which invests in promotion of the brand, to ensure it is recognised by small businesses and taken up by the IT industry, and which formally recognises already existing private sector accreditations.

Assessing IT needs in a business context – Delivery of a properly funded and resourced business assessment tool for IT that is promoted centrally and has appropriate resources to execute its use.

Connecting supply and demand – New signposting of all public and private sector IT support services including those offered by accountants, IT resellers and Government.

[Full article available – Living IT –  http://living-it.co.uk/pages.asp?id=291]

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