ارزیابی آمادگی الکترونیکی شرکتهای کوچک و متوسط فناوری اطلاعات بدون سود در یک کشور در حال توسعه: مورد ایران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18350||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 28, Issue 9, September 2008, Pages 578–590
We are experiencing a new kind of commerce in the recent era, known as e-commerce, which considers information and communication technology (ICT) as the main enabler of commerce. Considering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as micro elements of society and part of macro economy, ICT becomes crucial for e-commerce companies to attain sustainable competitiveness. Towards this, organizations must re-evaluate every aspect of their strategies and quickly adapt their working models to incorporate e-commerce as an essential factor for their success. SMEs are critical to the economies of all countries, and specially the developing ones. They cannot be left behind and many of them are already demonstrating their entrepreneurship strength by grasping the opportunities offered by ICT. E-readiness assessment is an evaluation tool that can be used for measuring the diffusion rate of ICT. However, critical issues for e-readiness assessment of SMEs have not been systematically investigated for developing countries. Some existing studies have derived their critical factors from macro perspectives at country level and have not considered the important factors at micro level for SMEs in an integrated way. This paper aims to bridge this gap. This research paper first reviews the e-readiness assessment models proposed for countries at macro scale and then identifies the critical factors for SMEs e-readiness assessment. This is achieved through factor analysis at the micro perspective of some Iranian non-profit ICT SMEs. The extracted factors are organizational features, ICT infrastructures, ICT availability and security and legal environment. This study is probably the first to provide a perspective of critical issues for e-readiness assessment in SMEs based on macro models in a developing country. It gives valuable insight and guidelines which hopefully will help the managers in developing countries to consider the critical issues for e-readiness assessment of their organization in an effective way.
E-readiness can mean different things to different people, in different contexts, and for different purposes (Peters, 2001). Thus, it is important to define e-readiness in the context of this paper. E-readiness of an SME is defined here as the ability of an SME to successfully adopt, use, and benefit from information technologies such as e-commerce. Information technology (IT) is a term that generally covers the harnessing of electronic technology for the information needs of a business at all levels. It utilizes computer-based systems as well as telecommunication technologies for the storage, processing, and communication (Anderson, 1990; Claus and Schwill, 1992). While an information system (IS) is a group of formal processes that together collect, retrieve, process, store, and disseminate information for the purpose of facilitating, planning, control, coordination, and decision-making in organizations, IT on the other hand provides the technical solutions identified in an IS, including the networks, hardware, and software (Grainger-Smith and Oppenheim, 1994). IT today is basically electronics based on integrated circuits or silicon chips. Hanson and Narula further identified two major forms of IT as Telematics (meaning “big media”) and Ethnotronics (meaning “small media”). Telematics consist of technologies such as computers, telephone, satellites, television, radio, video, and those that rely on large-scale infrastructures. Ethnotronics include technologies such as typewriters, audio cassette recorders, fax machines, paper copiers, calculators, digital watches, and other more personal types of technology (Hanson and Narula, 1990). Morgan et al. (2006) identified three main features of ICT initiatives in SMEs, including the operation and structure, the success from a participant's perspective and the development of a model of blended learning to support and continue developing the program. IT creates many new inter-relationships among businesses, expands the scope of industries in which a company must compete to achieve competitive advantage. Information systems and technology allow companies to coordinate their activities in distant geographic locations. Thus, one could say that IT is also changing the way companies operate (Porter and Miller, 1985). Grandon and Pearson (2004) conducted a survey between managers and owners of some SMEs and identified four factors that influence e-commerce adoption including organizational readiness, external pressure, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness. IT has an essential role in supporting the current and common operations in most of the contemporary organizations. Nowadays, the time cycle of these operations keep shrinking. The risk of missing opportunities that negatively impact businesses is very high. In this situation, because of the increasing rate of changes, the role of IT becomes much more profound. The potential contribution of ICT to improve the competitiveness of SMEs has long been recognized (Morgan et al., 2006). Information and communication technologies are today generally recognized as one of the central forces in the transition toward a new economic system. During the height of the techno-enthusiasm that underpinned the dot.com phenomenon, this transition tended to be identified with e-business which mostly meant the “transfer” of existing business processes onto an online environment (Maksoud and Aziz Youssef, 2003). A number of studies have been conducted for assessing a country's e-readiness, addressing the preparations for using IT and entering the digital world. Assessments were based on a variety of indicators such as e-connectivity, human capital, business climate, leadership, and others. Bayo-Moriones and Lera-Lopez (2007) explored ICT adoption by looking at five factors such as environment, firm structural characteristics, human capital, competitive strategy, and internal organization. Quantitative and qualitative indices were devised and used to evaluate and rank countries on the e-readiness scale. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka and Lal (2006a) found evidence of ICT investment and learning processes in some selected developing countries such as India, Nigeria, and Uganda. Their study showed that there is clear evidence of increasing complexity in adapting and using ICT in developing countries firms. In addition to the above findings Oyelaran-Oyeyinka and Lal (2006b) identified that technological progress requires skills upgrading through explicit learning of the new technologies; and finally, firm performance is highly associated with learning capabilities, levels of technology, and a host of firm-level knowledge, skills, and experience. Haj Bakry (2003) cited that e-readiness assessments, for various countries, are associated with the investigation of their state of readiness for digital integration which includes ICT infrastructure and applications of e-government, e-commerce, e-learning, and other e-applications. Tarantola and Gatelli (2006) also developed a methodology for sensitivity analysis and then tested that technique on a case study involving the construction of a composite indicator of e-business readiness of European enterprises. Although there are many studies looking at e-readiness of countries, few studies have attempted to evaluate e-readiness from a micro perspective. In particular, a relatively small number of studies have undertaken assessments of the e-commerce adoption in SMEs in the United States, Australia, some European and Asian countries (www.bridges.org). Ruikar et al. (2006) developed an e-readiness assessment prototype application for construction companies. It assessed the e-readiness of construction companies in terms of their management, people, processes, and technology perspective. Tan et al. (2007) extended the e-readiness Model of Molla (Molla and Licker, 2005a and Molla and Licker, 2005b) which had been implemented between 150 businesses from South Africa as depicted in Fig. 1, to e-commerce in China in an empirical study of 134 Chinese SMEs. Findings showed that the dominant inhibiting factors in China are: restricted access to computers; lack of internal trust; lack of enterprise-wide information sharing; intolerance towards failure and incapability of dealing with rapid change. The main objective of this research is to present a model that assesses the e-readiness of non-profit SMEs in a developing country, particularly their preparedness for adoption of electronic commerce.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Recent empirical evidence across countries shows a substantial and increasing return to IT investment. New technologies open up opportunities for small firms to expand their markets beyond national borders. Nevertheless, most SMEs in Iran are still traditional and their school of thought belongs to the past few decades. Today's global changes dictate a new model of thinking as a basic requirement. The SMEs in Iran have to restructure their way of thinking which has a deeply roots in their culture. The difference between culture in east and west is under the influence of school of thought they have been growing up under. In this way, to succeed when introducing a change in SMEs, the culture and beliefs need to be altered first. Following that processes, approaches, techniques, methodologies, etc. could be re-engineered on the base of change management program. The way the SMEs in west are behaving in the case of change, is under the influence of the techniques and thoughts commonly used in that environment. The preliminary instruments used in daily activities in SMEs in west, is a big project in the SMEs in east. For example, the topic of e-commerce commonly used in SMEs in the west as a daily routine process, if is traced in eastern SMEs, little trace can be monitored. As e-commerce is in its infancy in Iran, it necessary to be start the introduction of ICTs in micro and macro levels to bring and ease of related change in Iranian SMEs. The first step is assumed to be an e-readiness assessment. E-readiness of an SME is defined here as the ability of a company to successfully adopt, use, and benefit from Information Technologies such as e-commerce. In this paper, we extract the critical issues for e-readiness assessment of non-profit ICT SMEs in Iran. We reviewed the important areas of different countries e-readiness assessment according to some established models (macro level). Afterwards, we designed a research protocol for SMEs, including 20 questions based on important areas of e-readiness assessment for macro level. In other words, we designed a questionnaire that asked the experts about e-readiness assessment factors in SMEs with regarding the important items of e-readiness assessment for macro level. The analysis results showed the experts believed that some of those items can also be considered for SMEs. The authors applied factor analysis technique in this research. Four important factors were extracted which show the critical issues for ESME assessment. The first factor includes “Skills and human resources”, “ICT management and policy”, “Investment and financial support for ICT development”, and “Revenue on electronic services”, that was named as “Organizational features”. Factor 2 consists of “Information infrastructure”, “Network speed and quality”, “ICT services and support”, and “ICT employment opportunities” and was named as “Information and communication technology infrastructures”. The third factor includes “Internet availability and affordability”, “Information and communication technologies in the workplace”, and “People and organizations online”. This factor was named as “IT availability”; and finally factor 4 including “Security and encryption”, and “Legal environment and regulations” was named “Security and legal environment”. This study is probably the first to provide a perspective of critical issues for e-readiness assessment in SMEs based on macro models in a developing country. It gives valuable information and guidelines which hopefully will help the leaders in developing countries to consider the critical issues for e-readiness assessment through their organization in an effective way. It is a future proposition that these recommendations be verified by a larger sample of SMEs and innovation software producers to confirm the preliminary state of knowledge. While the current survey cannot be said to be complete, it provides a relatively good overview of the SMEs’ status in Iran. Since the study only covers non-profit ICT SMEs, it is suggested that the further studies be expanded to all kinds of SMEs for more comprehensive follow-up studies. For achieving more exact results, the research findings must be further examined especially for different types of SMEs. Future research can compare the results between different types of SMEs.