• Aggregation and the Role of Trusted Third Parties in SME E-Business Engagement: A Regional Policy Issue

      Lockett, Nigel; Brown, D.H. (2006-08)
      It is against the background of low engagement by SMEs in e-business that this paper seeks to highlight the potential importance of aggregation and of the role of trusted third parties in facilitating higher levels of involvement. The paper is based on an ongoing SME e-business research programme and reports on some recent research on SMEs that were using high complexity e-business applications and explores the extent to which the research findings could address the core concern of low engagement. This qualitative case study based research includes analysis of data collected from 13 community intermediaries, acting as trusted third parties. It concludes that the role of community intermediaries appears to be central to the adoption of critical e-aggregation applications provided by service providers. For policymakers, this important role of critical e-aggregation applications in facilitating e-business engagement by SMEs has emerged as part of this research but there is limited evidence of policy initiatives that reflect this.
    • E-Business, Innovation and SMEs: The Significance of Hosted Services and Firm Aggregations

      Lockett, Nigel; Brown, D.H. (2007)
      Against a background of the low engagement of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in e-business this paper investigates the significance of hosted services and firm aggregations. Based on qualitative case studies of aggregations of SMEs the research shows how e-business based innovation can occur, and identifies the extent to which the aggregation factor contributes to this innovation. The research confirms existing understanding of the importance of network based aggregations but adds to this with further detail and examples, including the `outsourcing¿ of innovation to the application service providers (ASPs).
    • Mind the Gap: Exploring the Links between the Expectations of Relationship Marketing and the Reality of Electronic-CRM

      Doherty, Neil F.; Lockett, Nigel (2008)
      The much debated relationship marketing paradigm suggests that the marketing strategy should try to develop long-term and mutually rewarding customer relationships, rather than simply focusing upon the promotion and selling of products and services and electronic CRM software, is often promoted as the ideal mechanism for implementing relationship marketing, on a company-wide basis. However, it has not been empirically demonstrated that the application of e-CRM software produces these benefits. This study develops a conceptual framework, which models the links between relationship marketing and e-CRM, and uses it to explore the outcomes of the adoption e-CRM applications by a sample of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), operating in the mail order sector. The key findings, presented in this paper, are twofold: the driver for e-CRM adoption has primarily been the need to integrate the front and back offices; when operating in an increasingly complex multi-channel environment, and consequently, e-CRM hasn¿t delivered the anticipated benefits of relationship marketing such as customer retention or ¿share of pocket¿.
    • Multiple Perspectives on the Challenges for Knowledge Transfer between Higher Education Institutions and Industry

      Lockett, Nigel; Kerr, Ron; Robinson, Sarah (2008)
      Knowledge transfer (KT) has been identified as an essential element of innovation, driving competitive advantage in increasingly knowledge-driven economies and as a result recent UK Government reports have sought to increase awareness of the importance of KT within higher education institutions (HEIs). There is therefore a need for relevant empirical research that examines, from multiple perspectives, how KT policy is translated into practice within HEI contexts. This paper responds to this need by presenting an in-depth qualitative case study based on over 50 semi-structured interviews with university-based academic and non-academic participants and representatives of small firms involved in InfoLab21, a high profile `centre of excellence¿ for research, development and commercialisation of ICT in Northwest England, UK. The study considers what the key practices of KT are and what promotes and/or hinders their development. Four overarching themes are identified: i) motivation and reward mechanisms; ii) process management and evaluation; iii) clustering and brokerage; and iv) trust and bridge building. Each theme is considered from multiple perspectives and areas for further research are suggested.
    • The Potential of Critical E-Applications for Engaging SMEs in E Business: A Provider Perspective

      Lockett, Nigel; Brown, D.H. (2004)
      Against a background of the low engagement of SMEs in e-business this paper investigates the emergence of, and potential for, critical e-applications defined as `an e-business application, promoted by a trusted third party, which engages a significant number of SMEs by addressing an important shared business concern within an aggregation.¿ By a review of secondary data and empirical investigation with service providers and other intermediaries the research shows that such applications can facilitate the e-business engagement of SMEs. There are three key findings, namely: the emergence of aggregation specific e-business applications; the emergence of collaboratively based `one to many¿ business models; and the importance of trusted third parties in the adoption of higher complexity e-business applications by SMEs. Significantly this work takes a deliberately provider perspective and complements the already considerable literature on SME IT adoption from a user and network perspective. In terms of future research the importance of a better conceptual understanding of the impact of complexity on the adoption of IT by SMEs is highlighted.
    • The Use of Hosted Enterprise Applications by SMEs: A Dual Market and User Perspective

      Lockett, Nigel; Brown, D.H.; Laddawan, K. (2006)
      This deliberately dual perspective paper seeks to deepen our understanding of the engagement of SMEs in hosted enterprise applications in the UK. The emergence and development of the ASP sector has attracted much interest and highly optimistic forecasts for revenues. The paper starts by considering ICT adoption by SMEs in general before reviewing the provision of hosted enterprise applications in the US and UK (market perspective). The study is extended by qualitative empirical data collected by semi-structured interviews with SME users of hosted enterprise applications (user perspective) and subsequent analysis in order to develop the key findings and conclusions. From an SME user perspective the key findings to emerge from the study include: i) confirmation that ICT infrastructure was no longer a barrier to adoption, ii) the pragmatic approach taken to security issues, iii) the use of both multiple information systems and multiple service providers, iv) the financial attractiveness of the rental model and v) the intention to continue or extend the use of hosted applications. It also highlights the opportunity for gaining competitive advantage by using hosted enterprise applications to reduce costs. There are very few empirical studies of hosted applications which take deliberately market and SME user perspectives - this paper makes an important contribution in this emerging field.