Challenges for Adoption of e-Procurement: An SME Perspective

Challenges for Adoption of e-Procurement: An SME Perspective

Kelly Liljemo (University of Agder, Norway) and Andreas Prinz (University of Agder, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3886-0.ch095
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In a society well on its way through a digital revolution, a number of new challenges are encountered, and when participating in electronic business, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face specific challenges and issues. In this chapter an analysis of those challenges covering electronic procurement within public and private sectors (B2G, B2B) is provided, including a case study from electronic invoicing. Relevant factors for the use of electronic invoicing for SMEs in Europe are recognized, and requirements for a technical solution are identified. Starting from that, an architecture for the solution is derived. The solution is aligned with the initiatives working on that issue within Europe.
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Hinsen (2010) states that we are halfway through a digital revolution, and although we have already gone through a lot of changes, what lies ahead of us will be even more challenging. SMEs face specific challenges and issues when participating in electronic business. Breyne (2011) points out that e.g. the plethora of solutions and standards pose a massive hurdle for the SMEs to surmount, but as the SMEs represent more than 99% of European businesses they should not be forgotten.

Recent work has addressed interoperability issues from a semantic point of view, uncovering issues related to standards and formats1. This work addresses semantic alignment between participants, and this is reflected in existing and new formats released to the market. Such research, and work done within alignment of vocabularies and grammar within use of formats, largely affects anyone participating in electronic business.

However, not only existing standards and formats need to be taken into consideration. Anyone interested in communicating with other participants of the market has to consider integration with existing infrastructure, and with that, it is necessary to uncover issues related to interaction and transport. Recent work addresses much of such interoperability issues and attempts to align business processes2. In addition, projects and action plans are carried out across the globe as steps towards modernization, improvement of the competitiveness and innovation of the market. Such projects and research put the premises and define the framework for infrastructures and standards.

Koch (2009) states that the market is still in a refraction period with much of the needs yet to be identified. Such a market can produce a dynamic environment, almost to the point of a living organism, which adds to the complexity of finding harmony in business processes. In spite of this, whilst some growing pains can be expected when finding ways to adapt to the new environment, those pains can be transformed to gains.

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