There is no one correct way to use the Guide; each community should determine how the Guide best addresses its own needs. Depending on the resources and goals of the community, the assessment process and results will vary in detail, depth and scope. In general, however, users of the Guide should estimate their own community's current stage within each Readiness category.
Communities may have difficulty placing themselves in a specific stage within some categories, as certain indicators within a stage may not be consistently linked. A community facing this situation should realistically determine which indicator is most relevant to its own ICT goals. While the Guide alone does not offer prescriptions for improved Readiness, it is useful for giving communities an idea of their current state of preparedness to participate in the Networked World. In order to decide where to go, each community must first know where it is. The Guide provides a firm base upon which to build a planning dialogue and is an important step in making sound policy and investment decisions.