For this reason many governments around the globe have been pushing for the adoption of ICT by SMEs. However, Dixon, Thompson and McAllister (2002) point out that those governments should be cautioned that the drive to adopt ICT is based on the assumption that ICT must be a “good thing” for SMEs. Governments should assess the need for ICT by SMEs before implementing an adoption strategy. Martin and Matlay (2001) also caution governments that they should not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, as SMEs have different characteristics and ICT needs. These differences are mainly due to reasons such as annual turnover, nature of business, number of employees, geographical location, or ownership. Dixon et al. (2002) give a good example of a case where ICT might not be as good as intended:
“[A] case in point is remote SMEs in more marginal parts of the UK: although e-commerce can potentially provide global markets through ‘richness and reach’, the companies still require the fundamental of distribution networks and direct markets to be successful.”
One of the stumbling blocks in the way of SMEs adopting and using ICT to their advantage is the need to be able to differentiate different aspects of ICTs and to assess their individual needs, thereafter providing a suitable solution for that business. Taylor and Murphy (2004) reiterate the findings of Martin and Matlay (2001), remarking that there is a need for critical study on differentiating factors that affect adoption of ICT by small business.
Based on the search (using the key words ICT adoption, SME and ICT, Small business information systems, innovation within small businesses) for information from journals (emerald, IEEE, Google Scholar, Blackwell Synergy, Infortrac, Taylor & Francis, etc) and libraries, it appears there has been little empirical research done on this topic relating to South Africa. Most of the research that has been conducted is outside South Africa; therefore the importance of this research
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