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ICT Adoption in SME in an Arab GCC Country: Oman

ICT Adoption in SME in an Arab GCC Country: Oman
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Author(s): Rafi Ashrafi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman) and Muhammad Murtaza (Industrial Management Technology & Contracting LLC, Oman)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 24
Source title: Small and Medium Enterprises: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3886-0.ch039

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Abstract

It has been widely recognized that Small and Medium size Enterprises(SMEs) not only play an important role in the economy of a country, but are crucial to the country’s economic stability. This article reviews UN and World Economic Forum ICT indicators for assessing the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC). Also, it presents the results of an exploratory study carried out to learn about the adoption of ICT in SMEs in Oman. The study investigates infrastructure, software used, driver for ICT investment, perceptions about business benefits of ICT and outsourcing trends of SMEs. The study provides an insight on the barriers for the adoption of ICT. Data on these aspects of ICT was collected from 51 SMEs through a survey questionnaire. The results of the study show that only a small number of SMEs in Oman are aware of the benefits of ICT adoption. The main driving forces for ICT investment are to provide better and faster customer service and to stay ahead of the competition. A majority of surveyed SMEs have reported a positive performance and other benefits by utilizing ICT in their businesses. A number of SMEs outsource most of their ICT activities. Lack of internal capabilities, high cost of ICT and lack of information about suitable ICT solutions and implementation were some of the major barriers in adopting ICT. These findings are consistent with other studies. There is a need for more focus and concerted efforts on increasing awareness among SMEs on the benefits of ICT adoption. The results of the study recognize the need for more training facilities in ICT for SMEs, measures to provide ICT products and services at an affordable cost, availability of free professional advice and/or consulting services at reasonable cost to SMEs. Our findings can help policy makers focusing on ICT adoption by SMEs. Also, the findings of this research will provide a foundation for future research and will help policy makers in understanding the current state of affairs of the usage and impact of ICT on SMEs in Oman and other GCC countries.

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