BT says ‘The North’ is clueless

In Friday’s Business Report (SA daily business paper) there is an article entitled “West blind to what makes the Brics tick“. It reports on a study by Data Monitor commissioned by British Telecom which says that business executives in the “north” developed countries have a very poor awareness about emerging markets, specifically the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

So a western report confirms what some of us have believed for a while, that the US and Europe really have very little idea how to operate a business outside of their cultural experience. The problem is, as one part of the study mentioned “that more than seven out of 10 western directors believed organisations in the developed world were better equipped technologically to work internationally than those in Brics”; that smacks of ‘enterprise imperialism’ to me.

Certainly in the software industry, there tends to be a belief that software that works a certain way in the US or Europe should do so easily in Africa as well. Then they get surprise when implementation projects fail or take longer to go-live than projected.

It would be nice if some companies in the ‘north’ learn some lessons from this study. It will be nicer if our own local software companies take encouragement from the report and recognise they are placed in a position to take advantage of the West’s ignorance.

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