South African SMMEs are expected to come under increasing pressure with the economy now formally in a recession.
A number of small businesses themselves predicted at the start of this year that their liabilities would increase or their assets would diminish during the course of 2017 (Nedbank’s Small Business Index Q4 2016). This lack of growth means that for SMMEs to survive, they need to find innovative ways to trim costs, while boosting productivity and remaining competitive in a complex digital economy.
With increased digitalisation, SMMEs rely even more on networks and connectivity. They also face a number of challenges such as sluggish networks, network downtime or even cybercrime. Many of them cannot afford to have dedicated IT resources, making their revenue and information more vulnerable. To address this, Vodacom Business has launched Virtual CIO, a service that provides a full suite of IT support to SMMEs. The service offers proactive monitoring, telephonic and onsite IT support (from R199 per month*) to businesses which are either unable to afford or do not require full time resources.
“Research has shown that SMMEs have expressed a desire for simpler and more affordable IT and security. Virtual CIO is Vodacom’s response to this. We have developed an affordable solution for SMMEs at an economically critical time in our nation’s history. This will allow small businesses to maximise their productivity and ultimately support growth.” Says Fatima Hassim, managing executive for SME at Vodacom Business.
Virtual CIO is a subscription service which proactively detects IT problems before they arise, safeguarding SMMEs which are vulnerable to prolonged IT outages. The solution provides full telephonic and onsite support as well as IT network auditing of infrastructure on a cost effective per user basis.
“Virtual CIO will ensure that all ICT and operational requirements are a seamless process, reducing any administrative burden. Digital growth is a key factor that drives economic growth, innovation and competitiveness and Vodacom continues to encourage SMMEs to embrace digitalisation, even more so in a low or no growth environment,” concludes Fatima.
Virtual CIO’s proactive monitoring features include malware/virus alerts, CPU usage and WLAN/LAN speed and availability. Full telephonic support allows a Virtual CIO technician to access the business’s computer system remotely and resolve conflicts. Unlimited onsite support will be provided by a trained IT technician.
Vodacom Business’ ultimate goal is to provide SMMEs with supportive technology that will enable them to be as productive as possible in order to grow their businesses.