Due to their size, small businesses are often behind the curve when it comes to trends in information systems. Fortunately, their small size also imparts on them the ability to respond quickly when an opportunity presents itself. In today's rapidly changing marketplace, SMBs must be prepared to deploy decision support systems, especially those with real-time capabilities, and collaborative systems that support and promote a virtual workforce.
Decision support systems strive to provide decision makers with the information they need to make timely decisions. They do this by combining the organization's data with models that define how the problem should be solved. In order to make the best decisions as quickly as possible, organization are now striving to implement decision support systems that provide real-time information. This gives organizations insight into how they are performing at that moment and the ability to make decisions based on current data (McNurlin & Sprague, 2006).
Technology has made it possible for people all over the world to communicate instantaneously. As work shifts from producing goods to producing knowledge, organizations are in competition to attract and recruit the best knowledge workers. Fortunately, technology now makes it possible to recruit knowledge workers from all over the globe. Collaboration systems allow workers in different places to work together simultaneously or at different times. By creating new ways of working together, these systems can improve worker efficiency and promote a greater sense of community (McNurlin & Sprague, 2006).
Small businesses must be cognizant of these information systems trends. Large organizations have the resources necessary to implement real-time decision support systems, but are relatively slow to adopt remote workers. SMBs have an opportunity to attract highly skilled knowledge workers that do not live near existing work centers or want to adapt to highly structured work environments. SMBs must realize that this flexibility gives them the opportunity to compete with organizations must larger than them.
McNurlin, B. C. & Sprague, Jr., R. H. (2006). Information systems management in practice (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.