PracticeConsultingUK companies must integrate IT systems

UK companies must integrate IT systems

Thousands of UK companies will be 'plunged into crisis' unless they become connected businesses that use integrated technology systems to deal with partners, clients and suppliers.

Paul Druckman, vice president of the ICAEW, delivered the stark warning last week, at the release of a survey by research company MyBusiness.Net, which showed that two in three midsize companies believe they need to connect in order to survive.

Web services provide the technology touted to improve business connectivity, by allowing segregated systems to interact through an XML-based communication protocol.

Druckman argued that practising accountants must take notice of web services to provide business advice. ‘They should be well on top of this – not the technology side, but how it can serve clients,’ he urged.

Finance directors, on the other hand, should take the lead in implementing web services, he argued, as IT departments have failed to see business relevance.

‘Technology has let us down. It is essential that the transition to a connected model is not seen just as an IT project. Becoming connected is not just about integrated technology, there are also massive implications for business processes and staff management,’ Druckman said.

Stewart Robinson, director of data and IT services at the Department of Trade and Industry, added that the openness of the web services approach could present a ‘big culture shock’ to people.

‘It still has to be adopted – even by the DTI which understands the technology. It just takes a long time to actually implement anything,’ he said.

But Jyoti Banerjee, chief executive of MyBusiness.Net, said companies have no choice but to embrace the new technology.

‘The connected model is the only way forward for UK companies – those who fail … will find it increasingly difficult to control their costs and remain competitive.

‘Unconnected organisations have no place in the business future of the UK,’ he said.

  • For more information go to www.icaew.co.uk – The DTI website is at www.dti.gov.uk – More on MyBusiness at www.mybusiness.net.

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