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Helping SME's Drive e-Business

South Africa's First Technology recently unveiled a range of software products aimed at enabling small and medium sized local enterprises to steer e-business initiatives.

Taking into account South Africa's bandwidth constraints and business requirements, First Technology has developed three products aimed at enabling small and medium enterprises to rev up their e-business potential.

These solutions -- JiT VCM (an e-procurement software solution), JiT Publisher (a Web Management solution) and JiT e-Postman (an e-marketing solution) -- seemingly provide for easy desktop integration. Moreover, the software solutions all have an ASP (Application Service Provider) option that brings them within the reach of smaller companies who may prefer to pay for services on a monthly basis rather than purchasing them outright.

"The JiT VCM (Value Chain Management) product enables businesses to interact with customers and suppliers via a private marketplace for e-procurement of services and supply chain capabilities," explains Clark Coetzee, managing director of the iDevelopment Division at First Technology. "The software has been developed in local specialists in the supply chain field, taking into account the intricacies of South African business requirements -- what is more, it is available to local businesses at a fraction of the cost of products developed internationally."

Developed on a Microsoft platform with a SQL 2000 database structure, the system is ostensibly easily integrated into ERP systems to enable seamless e-procurement.

Adding further e-marketing capabilities, JiT e-Postman aids businesses that require a bulk e-mailing tool that saves on bandwidth and time. "JiT e-Postman was developed to meet a clear market need," notes Coetzee, "anyone who has ever undertaken a mail shot knows what a nightmare this can be -- with our experience, we knew we could provide an effective and affordable solution."

Small businesses looking for an easy to use and cost effective Web management tool are ostensibly supplied with an equitable solution via First Technology's JiT Publisher. According to Coetzee, this tool allows company employees to remotely edit and update content and images as well as add or remove or add buttons on the company website without requiring HTML or Java knowledge. The program seemingly works via a secure login and includes the flexibility to add and delete users as required.

"This is a wonderful tool that places the overall management of your company's Web site firmly within your control," asserts Coetzee.

All three products were developed with the aid of Microsoft and were recently made public at MS' Johannnesburg offices.

"We are proud to have Microsoft's support for our highly reputable products that have now been brought within reach of the SME market through very competitive pricing structures," concluded Coetzee.