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Refereed Papers


Track: Technology for Developing Regions

Paper Title:
Organizing the Unorganized - Employing IT to Empower the Under-privileged

Authors:

  • Arun Kumar(IBM India Research Laboratory)
  • Nitendra Rajput(IBM India Research Laboratory)
  • Sheetal Agarwal(IBM India Research Laboratory)
  • Dipanjan Chakraborty(IBM India Research Laboratory)
  • Amit Anil Nanavati(IBM India Research Laboratory)

Abstract:
Various sectors in developing countries are typically dominated by the presence of a large number of small and micro-businesses that operate in an informal, unorganized manner. Many of these are single person run micro-businesses and cannot afford to buy and maintain their own IT infrastructure. For others, easy availability of cheap labour provides a convenient alternative even though it results in inefficiency, as little or no records are maintained, and only manual, paper-based processes are followed. This results in high response times for customers, no formal accountability and higher charges. For the businesses this translates to lower earnings and losses due to inefficiencies. In this paper, we look at few such micro-business segments and explore their current models of operation, while identifying existing inefficiencies and pain points. We build upon the findings and propose an approach for delivering benefits of IT solutions to such micro-business segments. Finally, we present technology that realizes the proposed approach in the specific context of two such segments.

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