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Understanding the Role of Strategy: An Exploratory Study of Eliciting E-business Requirements for SMEs

By Malcolm Scott, Edwards Helen and Oliver Philip


A healthy and vigorous SME sector is recognised by the UK Government as a cornerstone of economic growth and prosperity for the nation. It has also been recognised that the transformational power of e-business is fundamental to achieving sustained growth within the sector and maintaining national competitiveness in an expanding global market. However, there is significant evidence that SMEs are failing to reap the anticipated benefits of e-business and that over the last three years they have been ‘clicking off’ in increasing numbers. Evidence is presented from the literature which indicates that this phenomenon is due to a lack of strategic perspective and vision from which SME owners or managers can draw clear requirements for their e-business initiatives leading to a communications gap between themselves and developers. This is an area of study to which little research effort has been dedicated. Therefore in order to verify the existing literature and to explore potential solutions the preliminary results from three case studies are presented. The results indicate that a ‘communications gap’, does exist between developers and SME managers or owners and is caused by the inability of clients to effectively articulate their e-business vision confounding the process of requirements elicitation. The results also demonstrate that a clear business strategy can facilitate the elicitation of requirements for a successful e-business solution. From the results of the investigation a preliminary framework is suggested to support this process, which will inform SME management and provides a basis for future research

Topics: G500
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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