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Micro, small and medium enterprises' technology and/or digital advice. The real deal here is that you are always in command and with 𝖎𝖈𝖑𝖆𝖘𝖘𝖊𝖉, you are assured you'll get them right at all times. The ability to get the reality of technology and business operation always with near perfection---with or without dependable internal resource, which must come or develop from within, if any---is very important for both short- and long-term sustainability.

Take this as a wisdom or caution and whatnot for a technology and digital plans. The whip hand we've got or developed from our work and experience with few dozens of entities says either they are real or tend to be broken. In many cases, where we were engaged to help, many promises indeed were unable to stand up to the test of time and business needs. Unbelievably, they have been built, not as a conclusion to a very specific initiative, but it is just the start to pay more, and require more organizational resources. The combination of two or more of such initiatives may pose a greater uncertainty.

Don't just pay up and expect such solutions and services to work and function based on promises.

What must be obvious with MSME’s setting is, first, how its operation is being facilitated to by its people, processes and available technology including productivity suites or business applications.

People is constant and so is their quality of output that is most welcome. Being able to do their job on their own, keep improving it and relevant processes transparently done, without unnecessary intervention from colleagues and supervisor is an advantage that organization have or should come to terms and establish it themselves within.

When it comes to technology there are considerations with the following:

It is working (working rendition) – as soon as people begin on their job, the tendency for those who are experienced is to do something whatever is available, and for the starter to learn what the job is going to be.

That business is growing (growing rendition) – and so is its processes, technology and software application, backup, basic security capability with expected change and growth adjusted as well as formalized, and documentation or procedures written and become a guide for operation. This makes the business prepared for people turn-over, and in most cases to growing ones, an assignment to newly created senior positions to be filled.

When an enterprise or business has reached a threshold for industry and regulatory requirements (conformance rendition) – that is when the company will begin restructuring responsibility of its people. Both from technology and business, they become more assimilated to business operation’s and organizational well-being and contingency formation. The specialists and leader from technology, business people included, has to further qualify their inputs, and that they make sure the business is supported and not a neglect even a tiny bit. That customers, partners and owners’ experience doesn’t have problems, and if it does any, even a negligible one, that it can be addressed properly and such thing can be eliminated and not linger (without hanging them i.e. long telephone conversation, resolution of issue(s) taking months, email or messages not getting replied to, sometimes hearing an insult or showing a mean temperament).

Technology, or shall we say, let’s start small with IT, as referred to here for MSMEs may include any or a combination of the following:

Internet connection – comes with different subscription and speed ratings may only be acquired locally. In some countries, it is not customary to provide business subscriber its own static public IP address(es). Reasons for that are more than a few especially in the interest of commercial aspect of the service (we won’t discuss this further here). However, business subscribers must always ask for their own static public IP address(es), better if without additional fees.

Email and messaging – are without doubt, just maybe if not will soon be, that every business and individuals have them already.

Business and web applications, maintenance, migration, etcetera – are somewhat the opposite of the above and if they have such applications or services, the ability to update or manage it by the business itself may have been completely prevented with the contract, which is the usual case if it was first built by a service provider or vendor, although this is changing for the better towards customers. Just like some cloud-based applications or even an internet connection, the business or customer who subscribed to the service must have complete control over some, if not all, equipment, platform and configuration data, even if they don’t have the need, or capability, to do anything yet.

Domain name – with the mention of email, messaging, website and application(s), many MSMEs, even big companies, still are without their business-name related domain name. If they have, the ability to have complete control over these resource(s), website and internet connection included, are better than simply letting the service provider keep it all. Domain name enables a unique identifier for an entity. It can be a source of confidence for customers who might be interested to know what a business does, and they can easily lookup over the web and find it easily. It also doesn’t create doubt when sending a communication to stakeholders because they could verify what’s being used is a legit organization’s domain name. Without it, criminal acts can be committed very easily over unsuspecting stakeholders.

Be strict not to permit anyone, employees included, to do or introduce a trademark, company and domain name hacks to customers. That's a sign that your company and even your customers are being scammed. Use a single domain name only and be persistent that employees use it properly and exclusively for business purposes. Communicate with stakeholders using your company domain name email address, and use your website, online identifier or digital presence as a conduit and source of every information, including social media accounts, you'd like to share in public, that your customers, including prospects and spectators, needs to know. Make that a rule of thumb.

Mobility – is one example why getting an internet connection with a static public IP address should have been customary. This setup can save a business both resources and energy. With or without pandemic, the ability for the people, especially non-technology roles, to work wherever they have to and connect to data and services situated only in their offices is convenient. Again, businesses may not have the capability to set this up but having provisioned it is a suitability that the business can have at its disposal that can be enabled anytime with the help of a competent entity.

Security – is a must have for every company. Without having to acquire specialized and individualized solution, security can be improved, with MSMEs current technology investment, by simply making sure that every features available in every solution they already have are turned on. That includes anti-malware, TLS/SSL, DNSSEC, related mechanisms in email i.e. SPF, DKIM, web services including but not limited to authentication in which this must not be construed as applicable only to authorized access and geographically separated network and online activities. Think of passive security manipulation and attacks that you always don't anticipate but which your security system can see. And update them always using the system’s provided methodologies and trustworthy sources, binaries in a vetted repositories which must be a norm for every enterprise. 

There is always danger in our systems' security but with good and sharpened facility to see actions and policies go hand in hand on the part of the service makes sense and it definitely helps reduce uncertainty that may impact stakeholders productivity and business operation.

Make every node and access a hardened security layer and every stakeholder a discriminating protective constituent.

Data privacy – is a regulatory regime and sometimes this is subjected and required by different jurisdictions. With limited footprint either for cross-country or local online digital processes, take note of the threshold for personal information, especially at the MSME level, when a business will be required to begin working on its compliance. Imagine if technology is deployed properly, with all the mechanisms mentioned above, compliance should be easier than when a business has to keep depending on whatever it is being fed for them by a selling third-party. Organization's and stakeholder's data consists of office files, databases, systems configuration, source code and build, and even technology operations events and with it one has to think not only where to store them but if this is provisioned and have the facility to apply regulatory requirements. When considering how organizational and business needs must managed its data, it is better to do it a little forward by using and applying the guidelines that are based on compliance spectra which may include industry and regulations, and the work being provided by special interest group. 

Green office, building or any related project – is meant to be a holistic environmental solution, which can be formulated from a microscale to conscientious effort. A great start and fairly inexpensive goal. It makes a practically advantageous investment that may positively impact the well-being of people living, stationed or working there. A way to enable the whole organization to automate every possibility, not only on enterprise IT or business systems but most significantly energy including water, electricity, fire, access and/or intrusion, and for bigger establishments HVAC, without the usual and deliberate, sometimes tiring, intervention to commit quality, utility and safety upkeep of physical assets, applicable and proper controls and the requirements of day-to-day operations. Make green a reality all the way through and save big time, on resources, costs and Earth, regardless of public health situation and requirements of business operation.

The ability of an organization to identify and deploy or be willing to operate its business solution on its own is a lot more sustainable and efficient. Keep in mind that running your business better, with continuing cost-efficiency in every pipeline, can be habitually improved with technology. Select a true-blue resource, be firm and do it well.

Remember the conformance rendition that we earlier stated. In this case, a business may have to go through it without having to be told by a third-party, its own industry or regulatory agency to do its work. Waiting for them to tell us what to do might be more expensive than being a little more proactive. Besides it will do the business good by making sure stakeholders and business data are protected and attended to diligently, with the interest of the business in mind and not due to other entity.

Can a MSME do this on its own? It depends if the business has present capability in one of its people. If none, the above-mentioned solutions can be setup by a service provider or vendor, or a different entity, an independent practitioner. Whoever will have to set it up, controls must be turned over after, with all administrator/root passwords changed, authentication (forgo SMS OTP if you can use an app, which will work regardless if connected to the internet or not) enabled and access these third-party entities have used disabled. Don’t miss the warranty of the service, for a few months or even more, it makes sure the business wouldn’t have to pay extra, especially if something wrong in the job have become apparent later on.  

Can a MSME operate its system on its own? Absolutely, with operational guide or technical manual, the easy to follow instructional, not the geek, type of documentation, explicitly straightforward, that anyone can understand and just do it which is more beneficial to business people, if not everyone who makes reading just as essential to basics in anything, we live in. The use of technology should be acquainted that way so that we can take advantage of its purpose to our businesses or activities and that there are more who would know what it is for really. Of course, the level of know-how and proficiency is different in between those who simply understands, better with everyone to have clear apprehension, and those who commit in the practice and development of, technology.

How many people have to be running our system? None. The system must have been setup or built to run without the frequent human intervention. Even updates can be applied automatically. However, an individual, either technology or business individual, should be able to handle basic power outage and, if necessary, an easiest way to switch on/off to/from standby sources, required system restarts and minimal manual procedures for general maintenance purposes.

How about support? See, that's the problem. The build of the system might have been a mess from the beginning. That's why, and when you have to require support, most does this because of this very reason.

But then that’s all up to the business if they would rather hire their own or retain an honest and reliable independent practitioner who can help address everything about present and future technology efforts. Take note of the future here, that is because technology has limited life span, investments would have to go though major upgrades and data migration, executive decisions and organizational policies must be apparent that, failure is not an option and it is necessary to build the enterprise system in a seamless manner without interruption to business operation, if not a negligible or informed outage.

Or if you are a business owner who want to work things on your own, and only need somebody who can guide or something that is easy to follow, and makes you more interested or shall we say worked up, you need iclassed. Want to do this MSME advice, and apply it to your company, or with your current technology?

Though, many of the human intervention required above can already be avoided by moving some technology setup, critical business application, related data and some security and privacy initiatives to the cloud.

How about the costs to moving these services to the cloud? If what you see in the web, which is considered operational expense, is still too much for you, do get in touch with us. We can help you find the lowest cost possible, and account how much your obligation might be in an annual basis, with the setup that your business need without sacrificing quality, utility and safety in your technology or service and as primed for and by yourself and your stakeholders.

Your ability to make decisions towards business efficiency, especially if your budget is tight on technology and digital efforts, as you have read above, may sometimes make you simply shut your eyes off for getting the best option there is for your company. We become doubtful which begets failure because of our firsthand, probably many prior, experiences. But that is clearly not a solution and if you're planning to use business application, especially if they are in the middle tier of ERP class, just make sure to have functional tasks and software features elaborated for you by your vendor or service provider. You will be given a contract, in the form of fixed cost, time and material, statement of work or hourly rate engagement but if you don't completely understand what they are trying to deliver, you can always opt for said tasks and features, manuals not knowledge base done explicitly, how they complement one another or the people and application, to be identified and explained in plain language, no jargon whatever they may be.    

It is important to ask the fastest time to conclusion (FTTC, or deliver with complete success), average (ATTC) or longest (LTTC) period available. This will enable you to seize control of events and programs, that you are the most authoritative person, whatever your project is trying to build for your business. Soliciting information such as time critical for success shall further extract possibilities and modes of delivery available from your vendor or service provider. It will later be helpful as you decide how your resources and allocated funding be utilized and make every digital effort continue to thread stronger on efficiency and reliability objectives. Never consider riposte and whammy wastage. 

Take note that company's size doesn't really matter and the big ones have been largely creating, if not yet became, the model of inefficiency and exceptionable creativity in technology investment. While it may seem practical for the big companies, making rooms for improvement, MSMEs may find themselves at a disadvantage and costly bargain. What's sustainable, scalable and efficient under the context of quality, utility and safety will have the same impact both for MSME and big companies, and wherever your place of office and operations are. Mistakes in technological spectrum and failing services can be corrected (don't go too far though, or wasted resource and hard restart may become inevitable, considering existing lifecycle logic) and even prevented, with 𝖎𝖈𝖑𝖆𝖘𝖘𝖊𝖉 strategies and methodologies sharpened everytime.

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There is always a better way to do things in this fief of ours, and you can only find a real deal @𝖎𝖈𝖑𝖆𝖘𝖘𝖊𝖉. If you want the document (we are temporary halting sending it as we work to improve the document which will add more ideas especially for businesspeople, those who sent feedback thank you, very much appreciated) covering this MSME advice, which enables you to build on your own, kindly email us using your company domain name or use other contact here.

With MSME's business owners, we mean the financiers, and leaders, the need for, and the emphasis to contribute further to their, operational sustainability, recognizable efficiency and effectiveness, with consistency across the board, are just few of the dominant criteria towards their technology and digital investments.
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