To date, identifying barriers and critical success factors (CSFs) and integrating business model in implementing e-business for SMEs, have not been systematically investigated. Few existing studies have derived their CSFs and business models from large companies’ perspectives, and have not considered the needs of integration for smaller businesses. This chapter is aimed to bridge this gap. Existing studies on CSFs and e-business models were reviewed and their limitations were identified. By integrating insights drawn from these studies, as well as adding some new factors, the author proposed a set of 18 CSFs which is believed to be more useful for SMEs. The importance of the proposed CSFs was theoretically discussed and justified. In addition, a case study was conducted to evaluate the extent of success of this proposition. The overall results from the case study assessment were positive, thus reflecting the appropriateness of the proposed CSFs and integrated models. The set of CSFs and integrated models can act as a list of items and an easy to follow model for SMEs to address when adopting e-business. This helps to ensure that the essential issues and factors are covered during implementation. For academics, it provides a common language for them to discuss, and study the factors crucial for the success of e-business in SMEs. This study is probably the first to provide an integrative perspective of CSFs and integrated model for implementing e-business in the SME sector. It gives valuable information, which hopefully will help this business sector to accomplish e-business visions.
The use of the Internet does not automatically mean placing a barrier between the firm and its customers and/or its suppliers. Revolve around inter-firm relationships. Many firms have invested in these relationships, sometimes over generations, and these relationships are key assets of the firm. The challenge is to leverage off these assets to a new level of competitiveness not to undermine them.
O’Keeffe (2001) outlines what the Internet can or cannot do by exposing seven myths. These are presented in Table 1, the myths and realities of e-commerce and discussed below.Table 1.
The myths and realities of e-commerce (O’Keeffe, 2001)
|The myths||The realities|
|1. The Internet destroys relationships||Manage relationships as intangible assets|
|2. The Internet disintermediates||Value is more transparent|
|3. Simply reduce transaction costs||Focus on process costs|
|4. The Internet is about public information||Private information flows can be enhanced|
|5. A single hardware purchase||A dynamic relationship with a solutions provider|
|6. High risk and high investment costs||Amortised costs and low risk trial adoption|
|7. The Internet levels the playing field||The Internet leverages investments in reputation and relationship assets|