B2B Website Benefits Realization in Australian SMEs

B2B Website Benefits Realization in Australian SMEs

Chad Lin, Yu-An Huang, Rosemary Stockdale
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch011
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One aspect of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) electronic commerce activity that is acknowledged but rarely examined is their use of websites as they are a critical element of their business growth and competitiveness (Loiacono et al., 2002). Their successful design and use can alter the effectiveness of an SME’s venture into electronic commerce. However, SMEs are still lagging behind larger organizations in the adoption and evaluation of their electronic commerce activities despite the benefits it offers (Lin et al., 2007) and in overcoming the potential barriers that hamper their evaluation practices (Standing and Lin, 2007). Understanding the factors used by the SMEs’ potential customers to evaluate their website effectiveness can serve as a basis for creating and improving websites (Simmons et al., 2007).
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Theoretical Background

According to the organizational view, organizations wishing to increase their outputs need to have a close linkage between their IT infrastructures (B2B website adoption readiness) and supporting business architecture (IT investment evaluation) (Parker, 1996). It recognizes that both IT and business domains (i.e. IT infrastructures and supporting business architecture) should be managed and positioned in terms of their respective IT and business focuses. Organizations wishing to increase their outputs need to have a closer strategic alignment between their exiting organizational drivers (Parker, 1996). Not surprisingly, organizations with a high strategic alignment between organizational drivers have been found to exhibit better performance (Chan et al., 1997). In other words, in order for organizations to derive significant benefits from their B2B website investments, senior executives have to ensure that a clear linkage exists between the level of B2B website adoption readiness and IT investment evaluation (Parker, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Website Evaluation: This is the weighing up process to rationally assess the effectiveness and benefits of websites which are expected to improve organizations’ business value.

B2BEC: Business-to-business electronic commerce.

Methodology: An organized, documented set of guidelines and procedures for one or more phases of the systems development life cycle, such as analysis or design.

SMEs: Small to median enterprises. The European Commission has defined SMEs as organizations which employ less than 250 people.

Electronic Commerce: It is a business model that is conducted over the Internet in which clients are able to participate in all phases of a purchase decision between two businesses transmitting funds, goods, services or between a business and a customer.

Website: A place on the World Wide Web where an organization’s homepage is located. It is a collection of web pages, that is, HTML/XHTML documents accessible via HTTP on the Internet.

IT Investment Evaluation: This is the weighing up process to rationally assess the value of any in-house IT assets and acquisition of software or hardware which are expected to improve business value of an organization’s information systems.

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