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CHAPTER 1

MINI-DISSERTATION OVERVIEW

Information and communication technology (ICT) is a vital component in the present “knowledge economy”. It is used by many global businesses to remain competitive. In order to compete with big business, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) need to implement ICT as an essential part of their business. However, SMEs often appear slow to adopt ICT, for several reasons. There are unique challenges that SMEs face with regard to the adoption of ICT.

This mini-dissertation reviews present literature to define ICT and SMEs and determine the current situation in South Africa with regard to the use of ICT by SMEs, including possible benefits to SMEs as well as stumbling blocks to adopting ICT. The research consists of collecting data from ten SMEs in Gauteng in South Africa using questionnaires and interviews, to determine how SMEs can use ICT to become more competitive.

The mini-dissertation will have a number of chapters: the first chapter will give an overview of the subject. The second chapter will explain the research motivation and methodology while the third chapter will be the literature review, which will explore the topic of ICT and SMEs in depth, with a focus on South Africa. Chapter four will deal with data collection and analysis; the main source of data will be interviews based on structured questions. The fifth chapter will be the discussion and recommendations based on the results of the analysis and the literature review. Chapter Six will be the conclusion.

MIT 840

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