Internet adoption among small and micro enterprises in the business-services sector.
SMEs' are important in any economy, because they are the key drivers of innovation, employment and economic growth. Harnessing the Internet for business purposes improves SMEs‟ operational efficiency and competitiveness in an increasingly global economy. While there are many studies which provide insights about factors influencing Internet adoption among SMEs, there is little data about Internet adoption in African countries. Therefore this study highlights a relatively unexplored research context, namely SMEs in the business-services sector in an emerging economy. The aim of the study was to explore the factors that either inhibited or facilitated Internet adoption, and to describe the uses of the Internet by SMEs in the business-services sector. The study provided evidence that SMEs are aware of the advantages provided by the Internet. However, the short-term benefits were not apparent enough to SME owners for them to plan to make any significant investment in adopting Internet technologies. The results also showed that, while the majority of SMEs in the business-services sector are engaging in Internet activities, these activities are mainly e-mail and web browsing. E-commerce (use of the Internet for trading purposes) is limited. Furthermore, this study showed that external pressure, from customers, suppliers and competitors is the most significant driver of Internet adoption among SMEs in the business-services. While most SMEs acknowledged that the Internet is becoming increasingly relevant to their businesses, they identify the main barriers to Internet adoption as concerns about the costs and complexity, and issues around security and lack of support when it comes to using the Internet. The recommendations of the study are that the government should give businesses more incentives to adopt and utilise the Internet and, SME owners/managers need to realise that as businesses increasingly engage in e-commerce, their SMEs will have more opportunities to compete in the global marketplace.