Technology at Work - Open Solutions
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.