Technology at Work - Open Solutions
The availability of technology does not necessarily guarantee its use for sustainable enterprise development. Cite ways, including example technology solutions (hardware/software) we can employ to improve ACCESS, COLLABORATION and COMMUNICATION in Enterprise Sustainability?
- List at least one non-commercial product you would use
Yes I totally agree that ICT alone cannot sustain the business. It is matter of supply and demand mechanism. If ICT needs are well aligned with the business needs, the business can pay for the services .Therefore apart from the technology design, we need to think about local ICT contents and proper information plan. For example we can take some interesting example of E-Sewa in India and Kotmale ICT initiative in Srilanka. Therefore, sustaining the ICT and businesses, the development plan, technology plan and information plan should go together
Ignorance on the benefits of ICT, lack of information, lack of finance to obtain technological know- how, poor access of majority of people in the business locality, are some of the reasons why available technology may not be used to promote business sustainability.
Access is a major problem in most developing countries in Africa, especially in the rural areas where majority of the population reside and so the benefits of ICT in business continues to elude majority of people in these countries. Finance is also a problem, big business have little challenges in financing their ICT needs, but most small business are unable to pay for the services of setting up a website for instance and other services such as software development.
A non-commercial product which I would recommend to small business owners is the free Microsoft Office live services that offers small business owners free website design and hosting services. With this product small business owners can design their website using the free software provided by Microsoft and also have their website hosted for free or at a minimal cost for those who may want a domain name not linked to Microsoft office live
Yes, availability of the technology is not the total solution to ICT but having knowledge of it for enterprise development is vital and important. Another point of consideration is access and fund for the youth to make use of the availability of the ICT. However, i want to suggest the use of a software by microsoft office for youth to start with.
Hi Ubandoma, while the need to use Microsoft software is appreciated due to it's commonality and abundance, I would recommend that from the onset open source software is used to avoid users experiencing a "learning curve" when they have to move from Microsoft software to open source.
Perfect. teaching people how to use software when they do not understand the basic identification of icons can be a disservice. So the basic Microsoft is a good starting point. But let discuss how one could acquire the right software. It is important young entrepreneurs choose the right software, from the right vendor, at the right time, at the right price.
- OpenOffice if for example I use Microsoft office for my enterprise and once it phases out I may not be able to repace or upgrade for me to avoide the hastle of paying for licences and renewals I have to go for Oprating System UBUNTU - it takes 100 hours to download were can I get this from, here in Zambia. your office Brian? <Smile>
- WebBlogs - building and hosting websites is expensive but today you can use a blog there are many wordpree, etc
hosting is free you can do it youself at no cost, all you need is Internet
The statement above is very true. For example there laptops and personal computers in Zambia are cheaper than before. However, there is need to consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) which evaluates all costs, direct and indirect, incurred throughout the life-cycle of an IT asset, including acquisition and procurement, operations and maintenance, and end-of-life management. There is need to bear in mind that once a PC is nought it has to be maintained which adds to the original cost price. For computers if a firm needs to use 5 - 10 PCs, I would propose that they consider solutions that allow for sharing the hard drive of one PC among many users where each one has a virtual PC.
[N.B. To continue later. I came back from a work trip out of town today and in the process ate something that made my stomach "angry", so I need to do something about that]
One non-commerical product that I would use is Skype (http://www.skype.com)
Skype allows a use to make phone calls using the Internet at no cost except Internet browsing charges. This means that a youth entrepreneur can communicate with suppliers and clients at almost no cost when they have downloaded Skype (free of charge) on their computers or some mobile phones.
Gabriel, How's your stomach? Is it now ok? Yes, skype is so wonderful phone calls, chats, conference calls etc.
Kaf, I bought some medicine from the Chemist and have taken some Aloe Vera Juice so am feeling much better. Indeed Skype is very useful especially in African nations where international and local calls are very expensive.
Gab,it`s unfortunate that in Africa or I can say in Zimbabwe to be more specific, set up cost for ICT is too high for an ordinary entrepreneur hence most small businesses are still lagging behind. Majority of small businesses in Africa do not yet prefer use of skype, facebook and other social sites. It is also equally important that entrepreneurs are advised on scams associated with these. But ICT social tools are great if properly handled.
Tatenda, it's good to hear from the challenges faced in Africa and in Zim specifically. I hope with time that a number of Africans will see the usefulness of using Skype, Facebook and other social network sites. In Zambia at the moment one of the mobile phone providers has a facility where subscribers can access Facebook for free. Imagine how much of a boost this is for business? But I also know that in Zim you are now able to access Internet on mobile phones. That is a great way forward for easing communication among entrepreneurs.
It is very true that the availability of technology does not necessarily guarantee its use for sustainable enterprise development. One way is to encourage people to start using open source software and to also encourage governments to teach ICT with open source software. We normally try to depend mostly on programmes such as microsoft which must be bought before its utilisation or at worst use a cracked version which is a "back door" way of using it. In Ghana, the Teaching Syllabus for ICT prepared by the Ministry of Education uses microsoft programmes to deliver instruction. It does not have any free software for it's instruction.
Civil organisations can also sponsor programmes for the public on the use of such programmes including its development. We have been trained so much to depend on the technology that costs.
Example of some non-commercial products I will use is Ubuntu, linux mint, open office, etc.
Hi Brian I agree with you that the availability of technology does not guarantee that every person in business will use this technology for sustainable enterprise development. There is need for institutions involved in the promotion of enterprise development to marry the availability and the use of this technology in best way possible that meets the demands of any business person for sustainable enterprise development.
Other than using costly commercial and often pirated copies of software, use of free and open source solutions should be explored.
Though i would not necessarily promote one distribution over another, i strongly recommend Ubuntu. It comes with all the needed applications plus its has a great interface too. Its amazing how much you can do with it and for free. Yes! For FREE!!
Thanks for the discussion, to me i think the starting point on the discussion on the use of ICT in enhancing youth participation in sustainable enterprise development is the access of ICT related skills, equipment and infrastructure.most of the use are not even accessible on to the basic ICT infrastructure e.g internet, computers e.t.c
Hi! Brian , Kaf ,Gab Tatenda,Samuel and the rest of the team that i did not mention by name .
I strongly agree with Brian that the availability of technology does not guarantee that every individual in business will use this technology for sustainable enterprise development.
In order to utilize all these technologies towards sustainable enterprise , I believe there is need for a three way partnership , that is the government to bring in its infrastructures, then NGOs bring in skills that they have in ICT and then private sector should bring in funding towards ICT projects which involve the promotion of enterprise development.
I turn to believe that as much as there is a lot of technologies that comes in everyday ,so business people are left behind because some are not well informed about them and some don't know the whereabouts of utilizing these technologies towards sustainable enterprise.
Just like Gab I would use and I am using skype
I cant agree with you more. There are so many ways of communicating these days. However some of the means are expensive. There is thereefore need for collobotaion with diffrent players govt, csos and private sector tomake technology access cheaper for young people. During the last ICT conference in Zambia there was a show by an NGO in Chama wchich is doing a lolt of good work for the community. WE can facilitate information sharing regarding these issues.--Smauye 13:28, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Smauye, I am glad you recognise the presence of the different types of communicating. About their prices being expensive, it is quite through. Most of these technologies have been designed and provided by expatriates and MNCs who would want to make profits even to beat the foreign exchange rate risks.
I agree with you Brain because the availablity of technogy is much dependent on the knowledge of the user otherwise it is usesless for instance pastel for accountants it is comprehinsive sortware but can be tricky to use.
Indeed the availability of technology does not necessarily guarantee its use for sustainable enterprise development. Many SMEs lack knowledge and awareness of the benefits of technology. I believe if they appreciated its usefulness for sustainable enterprsie development, they would apply it wherever possible.
Some of the technology solutions include skype, facebook and mobile phone messaging
Hello every one, As the saying goes, "a book can not read itself" so is any material that is intended to add value to live. The Entrepreneure must get up and utilize the Technology solutoions available to him/her by constantly interacting with such gudgets. He/she needs to move around by communicating online, accessing the internet and other relevant materials to knaw about needs, availability of raw materials, markets and risk involved in evrey business in order to succeed.
hi, Indeed availability does not necessariuly lead to use. I had a good telephone with possibility for internet access but for years I never connected it. It is the same with technology. Most enterprenueers young people included use a computer as a type writer. They fail to use excel for thier financial management and wait for software like pastel. We can impproves accesss by using what is already available, while we can use cellphone to imptove collaboration through email messaging, creating communities and improving general communication. --Smauye 13:24, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
dear friends, Open source platforms seem to provide affordable solutions to youth enterprise development as they provide free software which has all the features required in enterprise. It has provisions for email-chat, access to facebook and is very accessible. However, I am not very sure about the availability of the skills to install and manage it.--Smauye 13:07, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Technology has aided in the keeping and tracking of stocks, customer accounts, filing, exchange of information between the venture owner and the suppliers. It has aided in the minimization of time spent, money and energy in all these activities, promoted growth and possible business survival. Technology has changed the face of operating business today.