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The potential power of radical ICT system audit in the Mekong River countries: Towards better ICT infrastructures and resource management systems

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In this blog we will discuss the requirements of information and communication technology (ICT) architecture and the governance mechanisms that can connect business and environmental management processes and analytics to data and applications.

Remarkable and innovative advances have occurred during the past 3 decades, especially in the electronics industry and informatics. Digital technology has provided a strong platform for digital products and e-business solutions, which are easily reproduced, easily distributed and subject to boundless modification, extension and recombination. The Internet has become integrated into the lives of many citizens and to every day’s life.

The World Wide Web and related information technologies are becoming primary tools of economic production, civic participation and political involvement, and define the economic, social and political landscape.

Today the new ICT architecture extends beyond the corporations and governments. We can say that all corporations and governments are so called extended organizations because of the Internet and associated digital infrastructures. Especially Internet has changed many things of modern management, also in environmental management.

Digital economy has many innovative “e”s, not only e-commerce. First, e is for electronic – the internet revolution that is changing the way we live, work and do business. E-commerce changes the balance of power between consumers and companies. The most obvious benefit is cheaper products and services as consumers learn to compare prices at the click of a mouse.

Secondly, e is for enterprise – the dynamism and creativity that drives the new economy.

Thirdly, e is for environment – the scope to use new technologies to reduce our impact on the natural world. In the best case knowledge economy helps us to increase dematerialization and immaterialization. E-commerce could help to cut energy and resource use, and improve environmental productivity and eco-efficiency.

Virtual traffic can replace real traffic. In many big cities of Asia traffic is a real environmental problem. From this perspective new ICT based communication and interaction tools are producing ecological and economic benefits. With the right policy framework, e-business could create more efficient logistics and distribution systems.

E-commerce has high potential for significant gains in resource productivity of Mekong River countries. Fourthly, e is for equity – the potential of the internet to strengthen communities and build social cohesion. All sorts of networks are being strengthened by the Internet.

What we can expect to happen in the future is the Wikinomics of resource management. As governments develop specifications for their new ICT architecture, they need to deal with several realities. Such realities are software packages, intellectual property rights, proprietary applications, systems, databases and virtual processes.

If governments want to get full value added from their ICT infrastructures they should perform an audit of the existing ICT systems and develop an understanding of the magnitude of the mitigating to better and more sustainable performance level. This kind of ICT auditing could create larger capacity to link large systems and multiple databases of the governments.
Probably this kind of audit could lead us to better resource management systems and better capacity building process.

If the Mekong River countries could improve their ICT infrastructures, many practical problems could be solved. Also better governance and institutional capacity performance could be reached.

In the World Bank report of “Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Development”, which was Lao PDR Development Report in 2009, this strategic aspect of government and institutional capacity is strongly underlined. Especially a framework for vertical collaboration across central and sub-national levels of government could be developed by better ICT infrastructures.

It is time to discuss about sustainable knowledge society challenges in the Mekong River countries.