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3 Reasons Why Local ICT Partners are Critical for Implementation Success

By Wayan Vota on April 27, 2011

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I saw this slide at a recent workshop and for me it states the obvious – having a good ICT partner is critical for a technology project to succeed. Then again, I am biased. I helped create the Inveneo Certified ICT Partner program, which expanded to over 76 partners in 24 countries around the world.

Yet there are still people and programs that try to design and install ICT systems from afar, sending in Westerners where locals can and should do the job. The next time you see this happening, please remind them of the three reasons why local ICT partners matter:

Lower total costs

When a plane flight from the USA to Africa is $2000, sending just one expat once (and you’ll never send them just once) is an expensive projecting staffing cost. Add in hotel, per diem, and salaries, and foreigner staffing costs will quickly be greater than your technology and power budgets.

Instead, hire a local company with lower labor costs, no international travel needs, and faster time to site and reduce overall project costs by as much as 60 percent.

Better technology designs

When should you design a DC-only power system for an intervention or how should you locate desktop computers in a room? The answer to these questions depends on the country – even the location within a country – of your intervention.

If there isn’t another power source in the community, having any AC capacity will invite all manner of equipment to be used on your system, from cell phones to air conditioners. And depending on the local culture, screens may be considered private or public space. These tricks you learn from a local ICT partner. And when it comes time to ship hardware local knowledge is invaluable

Improved tech support

When a client has a problem with the technology (or animals invading the tech), and they always do, who is going to respond to their needs faster? A staff person juggling several countries, based half-a-world away, and not conversant in local languages or customs, or someone from the same country, with the same timezone and cultural touchstones?

Of course the overall reason to use a local ICT partner is that we are in the business of international development – building local capacity, buying local at every opportunity, and being committed to African economic empowerment.

So why work alone? Work with a local ICT partner. You’ll be happy you did.

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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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