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Hard characteristics

Soft characteristics

Low users of ICTs They would use analogue communication systems.

Have low number of telephone lines

Low IT skills

Very limited speculative IT investments.

Not very sure when making technical- business decisions. Generally do not know much about IT/ICT.

Medium user of ICTs They would use analogue communication systems.

Have a number of computers in a networked environment Evidence of management information system Still some speculative investment in IT/ICT but with growing confidence in decision making

More sophisticated business rationale to employing technology Know the potential power of IT/ICT

High users of ICTs They would use or be on the move toward digital communication technology. Plans in hand to integrate IT and communication technology. Require specialised skills in IT & ICT. Less speculative IT investment and more calculated investment with clear return on investments (ROI) Business rationale is well articulated for ICT use

IT/ICT forms part of the business process in producing goods and services.

Figure 1: The user characteristic model (Southern & Tilley, 2000:148)

3.4 What is the status quo in South Africa?

According to Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), South African SMEs contribute positively to the country GDP and the reduction of unemployment levels; as a result the South African Government is pushing for South African SMEs to adopt ICT in order for them to continue with the good work. South Africa faces similar challenges to many developing countries, resulting in similar motivations for adopting ICT, such as the promise of solutions for economic and social problems, reduction of the digital divide between third world (poor and developing) countries and first world countries and integration of ICT with the delivery systems of foreign aid investments.

MIT 840

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