False promises: E-Business deployment in Wales' SME community

David Pickernell, Gary Packham, William Jones, Paul Beynon-Davies

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose – This study aims to examine usage and deployment trends of e-business technologies within the small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) community in Wales, since the turn of the millennium. Analysis of prior surveys such as the Department of Trade and Industry and Federation of Small Business reveals poor adoption levels of basic information and communication technology deployment and minimal uptake of sophisticated technologies in comparison to other UK regions. Uptake of e-business was assessed through a quantitative survey of SMEs and contrasted against prior studies undertaken within Wales since 2000 to identify trends and levels of adoption.

    Design/methodology/approach – The study is comprised of a survey of 500 SMEs including a representative population from diverse geographical and economic regions within Wales. The survey deployed a proportionately stratified and representative sampling technique, whereby two-thirds of the enterprises selected were micro sized classified enterprises with no employees to ensure compatibility with the Welsh SME population.

    Findings – Levels of e-business uptake within prior surveys varied significantly, due to the contrasting nature and size of the samples. As a consequence, several previous surveys presented an overly optimistic picture of e-business adoption and results must, therefore, be treated with caution. The authors’ own survey revealed lower utilisation levels of e-business than prior studies, suggesting sophisticated use of e-business was limited, especially within the smaller SME size classifications.

    Originality/value – To achieve increased e-business uptake, it is critical that there is a long-term strategic vision by policy makers to ensure coordinated action by relevant public and private sector groups. Short-term strategies must be avoided and policy makers must drive an agenda for change by ensuring bodies, such as enterprises support agencies, academia and public and private sectors undertake complimentary activities that encourage e-business adoption. This study will be of value to academia, the SME community and key public sector stakeholders in the formulation of policy for e-business development and deployment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163 - 178
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Systems and Information Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


    • electronic commerce
    • small to medium-sized enterprises
    • wales


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