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Understanding the Benefits of Information and Communication Technology to Private Businesses in Jamaica Essay

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Understanding the benefits of Information and Communication Technology to Private Businesses in Jamaica Shavonae Johnson ID# 0900724 Stephen Clarke 0901750 University of Technology, Jamaica Research Methodology, Semester 2 Mr. F. Vassel March 11, 2013 Rationale This study was conceptualized for the reason that there is a need for private businesses to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within their organizations. In this Information age, investment in ICT is critical to business survival, economic and social development.As such, the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, is encouraging members of the private sector to partner with the Government for the construction of office space, in the ICT sector. ICT is one area of the sector plans that form the basis for Vision 2030 Jamaica. The plan outlines strategic frame-works and action plans. One strategy speaks to encouraging public and private sector partnerships to establish Internet connectivity and access.Such a strategy would be carried out by promoting the formation of cybercentres by private entities to facilitate business growth, job distribution and creation across the country (Task Force, 2009). The Jamaican Government is actively seeking opportunities for private partnership to develop additional ICT space to meet growing demand. “With the current expansion rate and projected growth of the ICT sector, it is expected that 5,000 jobs will be created over the next three years” (S. F. Abrahams, 2012). Problem StatementInformation and Communication Technology is a fast growing sector around the world today and many opportunities are out there for private business owners to take advantage of. However, there is a great need for private businesses to incorporate ICT within their organizations. Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand the benefits that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have on private businesses in Jamaica and how it will aid in the development of these organizations. Research Questions/ Sub-topics 1. The development of ICT in Jamaica. . What level of knowledge do private businesses have about Information and Communication Technology (ICT)? 3. To what extent will private businesses benefit from incorporating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their organizations? 4. What are the opportunities for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate the private businesses’ contribution to the country’s development? 5. What are some of the challenges that private businesses may face with regards to Information and Communication Technology? SignificanceThe significance of this study is to find out ways in which private business owners in Jamaica may use ICT to aid in the maintenance, growth and development of their companies. The main beneficiaries from this research are private businesses that incorporate or will incorporate Information and Communication Technology, as well as those that know nothing about ICT. With the inclusion of technology to these businesses, they will thrive and owners will be pleased. Key Definitions * Information and Communication Technology – the study or business of developing and using technology to process information and aid communications. Webopedia, 2013) * Private Business – a company owned either by non-governmental organizations or by a relatively small number of shareholders or company members. (Wikipedia, 2013) * Vision 2030 Jamaica – a 21-year plan based on a vision to make ‘Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business. (Construction Task Force, 2009) * Cybercentre – a place that offers computer and internet services to people, companies, and organizations. (Cambridge Dictionaries Online, 2013) Literature Review IntroductionInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) is widely acknowledged as an important resource for socio? economic advancement in both developed and developing countries. This is doubly so against the backdrop of the global economy which is driven by the “information age”. Private businesses in Jamaica, however, face enormous challenges in its ability to utilize these resources for its growth and development agenda. Limitations range from infrastructural constraints to an individual’s ability to convert access to ICT into tangible benefits in light of other environmental constraints.In this context, shared use models of access such as telecenters, libraries and internet cafes, are important means of making ICTs available. Not only do they bring the technology closer (physically and financially) to people who would otherwise have no access, but they may also provide additional value in the teaching and learning environments they foster. Objectives of the Review In view of the topic about Understanding the benefits of Information and Communication Technology to Private Businesses in Jamaica we set out to review and analyze what is known about this.The review focused on the following issues: 1. The development of ICT in Jamaica. 2. What level of knowledge do private businesses have about Information and Communication Technology (ICT)? 3. To what extent will private businesses benefit from incorporating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their organizations? 4. What are the opportunities for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate the private businesses’ contribution to the country’s development? 5. What are some of the challenges that private businesses may face with regards to Information and Communication Technology?The Review Process This review is the result of a targeted search for literature on ICT and the impact of it on private business and the development in Jamaica, which returned a number of resources. From these, we selected and reviewed a few articles and reports focusing on private business access to ICT via different mediums. The Development of ICT in Jamaica According to the online article “The State of ICT in Jamaica: Readiness versus Competitiveness” written by Evan Duggan, Jamaica has responded to the challenge of reducing the digital divide.The Government Of Jamaica, in its 2009 Information And Communications Technology Policy, stated that Technology (ICTs) have over the past two decades paved the way for economic and social development across the world. According to a 2005 Report on Survey by Jamaica Computer Society Education Foundation (JCSEF) titled “Training Needs Assessment of Jamaica’s Information and Communications Technology Sector” background data from secondary sources suggest that ICT developments in Jamaica are far advanced and well supported by Government policies and provisions.The Jamaican ICT Sector has been growing in terms of technological awareness and resources. According to Evan Duggan, as it relates to Software and Information Systems Development, there is much more room for improvement. Benefits of incorporating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to private businesses? Ritchie and Brindley (2005) define Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as “the array of primarily digital technologies designed to collect, organize, store, process and communicate information within and external to an organization”, such as a private business.The incorporation of ICT is fundamental in the operation and development of any organization in today’s corporate world (Ashington, 2009; United Nation Conference On Trade And Development, 2011). In the opinion of Ashington’s (2009), his research suggested that the investment of ICTs’ had allowed organizations to reach new market, maximize employee’s engagement and productivity and improve levels of production. Similarly, UNCTAD held the view that ICT use could lower business costs, facilitate business registration and licensing, improve tax policies and administration, and facilitate trade.UNCTAD maintained that the process of registering an organization or obtaining a business license could be improved by the use of ICT, especially by enhancing access to the procedures through automation thus reducing the scope for corruption. UNCTAD’s research demonstrated that ICT supported reforms had contributed to private enterprises, particularly by speeding up the process of obtaining business licenses and permits via online use. In addition, UNCTAD’s research provided evidence that the automation of registration procedures, because of ICT, had led to an increase in the number of new firms in an economy.Secondly, the research by UNCTAD (2011) and the opinion of BELL (2007) had suggested that ICT helped reduce corruption by automating interactions between businesses and the government in order to limit the scope for human intervention and bribery, which resulted in lower business costs. Additionally, UNCTAD’s research suggested, “ICT had proved to contribute to reforms of tax policies and procedures through the introduction of electronic filing of returns, electronic payment of taxes, and the provision of taxpayer services via the Internet. Consequently, online filing of taxes had saved time for enterprises because of a reduction of forms and procedures. Finally, UNCTAD (2011) held the view the implementation of modern ICT solutions in private sector significantly improved the efficiency of many customs administrations (Trading). Such solutions, according to UNCTAD (2011), facilitated in the completion and processing of customs declarations electronically and other paperwork associated with importing and exporting.According to UNCTAD (2011), electronic customs declarations had proven to bring clearance times down and to reduce the time that goods had to stay at border crossings and in ports; most importantly, this leads to a reduction in costs to business. What are the opportunities for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate private businesses’ contribution to the country’s development? Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provides economic opportunities for all population and provides increased productivity. Asian Development Bank (2013) stated that Rapid advances in information and ommunication technology (ICT) have created tremendous opportunity for economic and social gains in the world’s poorest areas. Developing country is the term used to describe a nation with low levels of material well-being. These countries are usually said to be economically unstable due to undeveloped industrial bases, low Human Development Index (HDI), etc. HDI speaks to the levels of employment, education and life expectancy which are used to rank countries. The argument on whether ICT creates or destroys jobs is still a baffling conflict.However theory suggests that ICT can lead to innovation, which may result in output growth and a concomitant growth in jobs. ICT’s innovations may create or change many existing jobs. By computerizing many aspects of private business’s ICT provides job such as: Engineering, Programming, System analysis and machine operators, etc. The development of any country is highly dependent on the quality of its education. According to Sylvester (cited from the World Bank Report 2005) one measure of national education attainment is the average number of years of schooling adults possess.This means that education transformation must make provision so that the average number of years of schooling for adults is extended. With the implementation of ICT and the creation of jobs in the private sector, more opportunity arises for adults to return to school and further their education. These also give young adults more options, opportunities and motivation for higher education. According to the World Bank report after secondary institution a high percentage of students do not attend tertiary institution, some because of the lack of opportunity and other the lack of interest.Study has also shown that after tertiary education many students migrate overseas to find work. Jobs created through ICT can decrease the number of migrants. Ogunsola 2005 (cited from Faye 2000) mentioned that ICT’s are offering even less developed countries a window of opportunities to leapfrog the industrialization stage and transform their economies that can compete with the advanced economics on the global market. Embracing technological innovations is one of the most efficient ways to benefit from globalization.In today’s economic small and developing countries cannot afford to miss out on globalization. The introduction of private businesses can have a big impact on countries development. When these private businesses implement ICT it helps countries to be opened up to globalization and the benefits thereof. Citations Ashington, A. (2009). Accessible Information and Communication Technologies. Retrieved fromhttp://www. onevoiceict. org/sites/default/files/Accessible%20ICT%20%20Benefits%20to%20Business%20and%20Society. pdf Bell. (2007).The Benefits of ICT. Retrieved fromhttp://www. bell. ca/web/enterprise/newsRoom/en/pdf/Benefits-of-ICT-White-PaperEN. pdf Modimogale, L. , & Kroeze, J. H. (2011). The Role of ICT within Small and Medium Enterprisesin Gauteng. Retrieved fromhttp://www. ibimapublishing. com/journals/CIBIMA/2011/369288/369288. pdf Ritchie, B. and Brindley, C. (2005), ‘ICT Adoption by SMEs: Implications for Relationships andManagement,’ New Technology, Work and Employment, 20(3), 205-217. United Nation Conference On Trade And Development. (2011).Information Economy Report2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development. Retreived fromhttp://unctad. org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ier2011_en. pdf JCSEF. 2005. Training Needs Assessment of Jamaica’s Information and Communications Technology Sector. Heart Trust/NTA. Retrieved March 6, 2013 from http://lms. heartnta. org/DesktopModules/DocumentView. aspx? TabId=0&Alias=ppdd. lms. heart-nta&Lang=en-US&ItemId=983&wversion=Staging Evan Duggan. 2008. The State of ICT in Jamaica: Readiness versus Competitiveness. E-Novation Jamaica.Retrieved March 6, 2013 from, http://enovationjamaica. pbworks. com/w/page/18449444/The%20State%20of%20ICT%20in%20Jamaica%3A%20Readiness%20vs%20Competitiveness Information and Telecommunications Department Office of the Prime Minister. 2009. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy. Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved March 6, 2013 from, http://www. broadcastingcommission. org/uploads/publications/GOJ-ICT_Policy. pdf Author Unknown. 2013. ADB’s work to improve Access to Information and Communication Received March 4, 2013 from

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