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IT support helps SMBs ‘know what they don’t know’

Companies that recognize there are things unknown to them have the best chance to address knowledge gaps and avoid pitfalls.

Companies that recognize there are things unknown to them have the best chance to address knowledge gaps and avoid pitfalls.

Information and foresight are essential ingredients for any business looking to become an innovative leader in their industry. But, it is perhaps just as important to know what you don't know. By recognizing limitations you can seek out ways to ensure that expertise you don't have does not hold the company back.

This is the prevailing theme of a recent study conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR), a consulting firm that focuses on business and technology challenges facing the retail industry.

According to the survey, the most successful and fastest growing businesses understand there are areas where they need assistance. Meanwhile, average and poor-performing companies inefficiently gather data that they are ill-equipped to quantify and qualify and then implement a plethora of sales and promotional initiatives that actually hurt their bottom line.

"Operationally, the best performers 'know what they don't know,' and have a generally better understanding of what they need to change to improve their merchandising strategies,"  says the study. It also notes that "by comparison, laggards are asking for more customer segmentation information, but at the same time, citing stalled performance on their inability to identify new merchandising ideas that would appeal to new customer preferences quickly."

As RSR's research points out, technology is playing a significant role in this landscape. IT assets like forecasting systems, customer analytics tools and databases are proving critical to the success of the best performers.

For small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in retail or any other industry, it is becoming imperative to identify areas where help is needed and then seek out the partnerships and knowledge that will address those issues. Companies that lack the resources and trained personnel to implement such IT tools need not be at a disadvantage.

Quality SMB IT support is helping companies stay viable by closing knowledge gaps and proving that entrepreneurs do not have to be technology experts to take advantage of its benefits.