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areas lack resources and infrastructure and have no proper address systems. Fixed-line connectivity in rural areas is still a huge problem, though the use of cellphones is high. Another major problem is the high rate of illiteracy in the rural areas. On the contrary the urban areas of South Africa are well connected and the use of technology like the Internet is high.

This barrier falls under strategic levels of diffusion agents. Issues such as the “FedEx effect” should be addressed at a strategic level. Taking the time to plan to overcome problems such as lack of roads and addresses will make implementation easier.

3.7 Possible benefits of ICT to SMEs

The drive to adopt ICT is based on the perception that ICT will bring about specific benefits. These benefits differ from business to business. The possible benefits of ICT within the SME include the ability to:

  • reduce cost and operational efficiency

  • work remotely

  • reduce the price by increasing turn-around period or using open source

software (OSS)

  • grow the market share by exposure to a wider client base.

According to Alexander (2008), some of the technologies or tools that SMEs can benefit from and that will help realise the above benefits are:

  • Video conferencing. This enables “real time, face-to-face communication with partners, clients, contractors and employees over a broadband network” (Alexander, 2008:3). Video conferencing can benefit the SME in a number of ways by, for example, reducing costs because of fewer expensive trips and hotel stays, reducing time spent travelling and away from work, still providing the rich content that you

MIT 840

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