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Embrace ICT, says Medford

Marlon Madden

Embrace ICT, says Medford

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Businesspeople ARE being urged to take full advantage of social media and other forms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in order to become more competitive and satisfy customers’ demands.
This call has come from telecoms policy specialist Glenda Medford, who told  businesspeople last Tuesday that enterprises with low levels of ICT skills were expected to become increasingly vulnerable to competitiveness from more  ICT-savvy enterprises.
Her comments came last week during a joint Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) and Barbados Chamber of Commerce  & Industry (BCCI) luncheon at Hilton Barbados. She was making a presentation on Harnessing Global ICT Trends To Enhance Barbados’ Competitiveness.
“Undoubtedly, ICT has broken down barriers of distance and time and created new opportunities for businesses, especially micro enterprises, to improve business operations and participate in the global economy,” she said.
“The reality was that yesterday’s consumers are quickly being replaced with a new  generation of end users who are tech-savvy. These consumers are ready to do transactions online and encage in e-commerce with whoever is [so] inclined,” said Medford.
She said based on research, more than half the world’s population under age 30 was currently using social media. She said social media had created “a fundamental shift” in consumers’ behaviour yet many businesses still did not have a social media presence.
“Several issues have been raised in Barbados about providing a true e-commerce experience even though the legislative framework has been put in place over a decade ago. The reality is that we need to use the technology to offer our goods and services to those seven billion [people] online in this ritual e-market place,” Medford explained.
Acknowledging that there were various types of ICT mechanisms to be utilized, Medford highlighted areas such as tourism and the financial services sector where ICT could play a major role in promotion, marketing, data management, information sharing and building training partnerships.
“In the area of logistics, ICT can improve efficiency by reducing delivery times and coordinate the stock levels through improved monitoring of supply and demand, which in turn enhance customer service.
“Accountants and lawyers can provide services to their clients online irrespective of their age,” she suggested.