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There are different types of costs associated with ICT: product/solution, development, connectivity, hardware, software, maintaining workforce and hidden costs such as annual license fees, upgrade fees, tanning fees etc. These costs can be overcome by having the right knowledge and know- how. For example, there are lots of open source software (OSS) programmes available – these are free or low cost ICT tools and solutions written by open source communities. These solutions can be used to support business. In terms of connectivity to the world wide web (Internet), the South African Government, like many others, is driving the cost of communication down through bodies such as ICASA. Such bodies are constantly forcing telecommunication companies like Telkom to reduce their rates and make communication affordable to everyone. Mobile operators also offer broadband technologies such as 3G or HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) at a cheaper rate – these are accessible anywhere in South Africa.

An SME with the right knowledge can use OSS solutions in order to run the business: solutions such as Skype (for free calls), Turbo cash (accounting software) and others can be combined to offer a total solution for all the business processes.

The perceived high cost of ICT can be classified as a strategic and/or technological barrier. Technology can be expensive or cheap, depending on which technology platforms are chosen. Once more, understanding the role of ICT will make it easier for the business to achieve its goal. But the key thing here is understanding technology.

3.6.4 Ever-changing ICT environment

The ICT environment is ever changing, so constant learning and updating of technologies is needed. Technology is constantly evolving, getting faster, smaller, more powerful, or digital, for example. There are two

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