IT is not the be-all for small enterprise operators, in fact the less time spent on it the better for owners and managers whose primary concern is building a business.
That's the driving motivation behind Microsoft's just-launched portal, Small Business Centre, says Kevin Burke, manager of Microsoft Australia's small business group. "The person in charge usually has to be a jack-of-all-trades not an IT expert; they want a trusted adviser. The SBC aims to talk the language of business, not an acronym-laden tech speak that doesn't suit a business manager.
"Their frequent comment is, 'When the IT system is working I don't want anyone to touch it.' But we know SME manages ask someone they trust about IT investment and like referrals to those who buy and use similar systems."
He said the site had been set up to be user-friendly for business operators, with business issues – such as document sharing, customer and staff communications, customer support, and solutions across a number of general technical topics, including broadband, wireless networking and security, which is the highest concern.
The SBC will also list a number of tips and hints and a link to Microsoft partners that are specialists in IT solutions for small enterprises.
As part of its strategy to provide the resources and information that SMEs need, Microsoft will migrate the content from its bCentral small business resources portal to the SBC.
The centre has been localised to ensure the information is germane to doing business in Australia. Similar centres will be launched shortly in Japan, Canada and the UK, with France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the US to follow later in the year.