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Title: Evaluation of competitive intelligence software for MSC-status small and medium-sized enterprises in Malaysia
Authors: Juhari, Ariff Syah
Keywords: Competitive intelligence (Cl)
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Information and communications technology (lCT)
Cl software
Perceived effectiveness
Key intelligence topics (KITs)
Intelligence cycle
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: © Ariff Syah Juhari
Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia, particularly In the information and communications technology (lCT) sector, are faced with an increasingly volatile environment. The Malaysian business scene has opened up their markets to the world where smaller businesses find themselves competing with newly launched multinational subsidiary and subdivision companies, along with the large local firms. The Malaysian Government has launched several campaigns and support for smaller local businesses to be more competitive and to continuously compete at par with these larger companies. This research project supports the Malaysian Government's objective of instilling a more structured approach towards a more competitive SME by focusing on the management of competitive information related to these companies. In recognising the rising need for competitive support, management and executives are increasingly relying on a concept called Competitive Intelligence (Cl), a systematic and ethical process for gathering, analysing, and managing information that can affect a company's plans, decisions, and operation. In managing competitive information, several companies have emerged especially to develop online tools and software that would enhance the Cl process and the value competitive intelligence brings to organisations. The success of these Cl software tools depends, however, on the sophistication of an organisation's understanding of the Cl process and scope of usage. Different companies derive different values from different approaches to competitive intelligence, and therefore require a flexible tool that is very specific to the company's needs. Therefore, this research investigated the structures and contexts of Malaysian Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs) based on competitive intelligence (Cl) concepts to derive a more customised approach to the use of Cl for SMEs in the ICT sector, as well as in the selection of appropriate Cl software. Mintzberg's approaches to analysing organisational structures and contexts, Bouthillier and Shearer's Intelligence Cycle, Herring's Key Intelligence Topics, and Davis' concept of effectiveness were used in two main stages. The first stage involved identifying the nature and range of SMEs, which exist under Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, a government benchmarking body for local businesses. This gives an account, on the basis of cluster analysis, of a taxonomy of SME categories consisted of ten clusters. The relationships between the categories were also examined in the first stage of the research. The relationships and clusters found in the first part of the research offered the basis for the second part of the research, which constructs the criteria for evaluating online tools and software for competitive intelligence. The evaluation criteria are then used to evaluate eight Cl-ready software packages in finding suitable tools for the different categories of SMEs. Finally, the research concludes with a study of the prospective users' perceptions of effectiveness in SMEs drawn from the identified clusters. This 'multiple constituency' approach to understanding effectiveness evaluates both Davis' concept of effectiveness (usefulness), as well as the differential evaluations of perceived effectiveness. The research findings provide evidence of a range of SME structures in a variety of contexts. Levels of importance placed on different levels in the Cl process are identified, as well as aspects that need support, automation and/or augmentation. The software evaluation in the second part of the research provided ten recommendations of suitable software package(s) for each SME cluster. However, an initial review by SME managers of perceived effectiveness mostly did not reveal results that were parallel to the findings from the software evaluation study. All in all, the research confirms that SMEs can be analysed by clusters but further research would be necessary to confirm the effectiveness of using the recommended Cl software over a longer period of time.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/13657
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Information Science)

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