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ability to provide “new solutions for their products, production, marketing and administration to cope with the dynamics of the markets” (Mahemba & De Bruijn 2003:163). Product innovation is one of the advantages that ICT gives SMEs. The clients of the knowledge economy demand intelligent products and services. This means that knowledge has to be integrated into products and services, for example the design of a bottle of water has to take the user into consideration and be built in such a way that the user can hold it easily (such as the new design of the Pepsi bottle); this can make or break the sales of the product. Today we don’t buy cars so much as we buy the service that a car manufacturer offers, such as safety (knowledge features like pre-safety and post-safety in Mercedes Benz), comfort and ease of use (a Lexus can park itself), reliability (Toyota sells reliability and affordability), and the like. South African SMEs can use ICT for accelerating network developments and active participation in the global economy.

3.4.1.4 Flexibility

ICT offers SMEs flexibility of trading time (24 hours, 7 days a week), resources (remote assess to knowledge, suppliers, etc) and a borderless environment. ICT offers SMEs flexibility and cheaper solutions in order for them to achieve their business objectives. Flexibility can mean many things, like the ability to deliver products and services on a different platform that is easily accessible. For example, banking is now done through different mediums like cellphone, Internet, and ATMs (automatic teller machines) 24 hours a day. The benefit is that people in the rural areas can have access to banking facilities.

ICT also reduces barriers of entry into the different market segments. A good example is Amazon.com; when it entered the market, giant bookstores like Barnes & Noble never thought that Amazon would surpass them; today Amazon has clients all over the world and is a

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