National survey of SMEs' use of IT in four sectors

Dyerson, R., Harindranath, G. and Barnes, David (2009) National survey of SMEs' use of IT in four sectors. Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 12 (1). pp. 39-50. ISSN 1566-6379

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This paper examines the adoption and use of information and communication technology (ICT) in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across four UK sectors Here we report on a survey that explores the factors facilitating or hampering the successful adoption and use of ICT by SMEs. We find that SMEs are generally satisfied with their investments in ICT but that they are concerned about the cost of such investments and are uncertain about the business benefits. Much of the investment in ICT is directed at meeting bottom line issues of cost and productivity but little use is made of potential strategic applications such as ecommerce in which firms report increased consumer interest but there is little evidence in the survey to suggest that interest is being actively managed by SMEs. One concern that emerges from the survey is the SMEs’ perceived dependency upon consultants. SMEs appear to be encountering knowledge/competency gaps related to ICT. They may be too small to be able to employ a dedicated ICT expert and lack the experience to have confidence in its reliability of consultancy advice. They often have limited experience in selecting, implementing and evaluating suggested ICT solutions. To help correct this gap in the provision of services, the government has tried to provide support with mixed success. Certainly, the UK government has had a strong interest in helping and supporting the SME sector. However, State sponsored solutions to meet this competency gap appear to be failing with little awareness or take up of such solutions by the SMEs that we surveyed. Something that remains unclear is whether this failure by SMEs to avail themselves of advice and guidance made available by the State reflects the quality of solutions offered or a more basic lack of awareness by SMEs.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Business School
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2010 10:16
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2010 10:16

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