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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Governments: Follow Consumers in ICT

Governments can learn a thing or two from consumers when it comes technology. And they should, especially when it comes to using and buying technology. After all, consumers -- the public -- are government's primary customers.

What ICT lessons should governments learn from consumers?

1. Services trump hardware. In the end, people care less about the hardware and more about the content and services that hardware delivers. Hardware becomes obsolete. Services and users endure. This is the main reason for governments and enterprises to focus on becoming service- and user-oriented, and leaving behind their (procurement) attention on hardware.

2. The physical is moving to digital. People like -- they want! -- new ways of getting information and services. They don't want to stand in lines. They don't want to wait on hold on the telephone. Enter "disruptive distribution channels." Internet, instant messages, email, Blackberries, podcasts, blogs, P2P, Bluetooth. They all represent new ways to access information and services -- from governments, companies AND, importantly, from each other.

3. New technologies become mainstream faster today. Consumers are adopting new technologies faster than ever now. And old technologies become obsolete faster than ever. Governments must be aware of this, or risk falling far behind their customers in the ICT they use and the delivery channels they want. Governments cannot afford to only think about upgrades; they need to think about the next generation of ICT (and distribution) to deliver public services and information.

To avoid becoming obsolete, governments need to take their technology cues from consumers.

Categories: consumers, ICT, government

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