Competitive Intelligence Software Evaluation Taxonomy (SET) for SMEs in Malaysia - An Effectiveness Report

Ariff Syah Juhari, and Stephens, Derek (2011) Competitive Intelligence Software Evaluation Taxonomy (SET) for SMEs in Malaysia - An Effectiveness Report. In: 2nd International Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, 27-28 April 2011, Toronto, Canada.

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The increasing need for competitive advantage in fast moving industries such as Information, Communication Technologies (ICT), means some SMEs are looking at Competitive Intelligence (CI), a systematic process for gathering, analysing, and managing information that can affect a company's plans, decisions, and operation. Some software companies have developed online tools and software that promise to enhance the CI process and the value CI brings to organisations. The success of these CI software tools depends, however, on the sophistication of an organisation’s understanding of the CI process and scope. Different companies derive different values from different approaches to CI, and therefore require a online tool or software that is specific to their company’s needs, resources and management style. This research investigated the management structures and contexts of ICT SMEs in Malaysia to develop a more customised approach to the effective use of CI software for SMEs in the ICT sector, as well as in the selection of appropriate CI software. This paper describes the two-stage research approach. The first stage involved identifying the management style and context of a group of 680 SMEs, in the Malaysian Government’s Multimedia Super Corridor, a government supported area for local businesses. This stage used a cluster analysis approach, to create a taxonomy of ten SME clusters and their management style. These clusters were then used as the basis for the second stage to develop suitable criteria to evaluate available online tools and software for conducting competitive intelligence from an SME perspective. The evaluation criteria were applied to eight CI-ready software packages to identify the most suitable software for each cluster of SMEs. Finally, the research surveyed a small sample of managers to obtain the prospective users’ perceptions of the recommended software. 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 CI 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. The perceived effectiveness study that concluded the research provided mixed responses. All in all, the research confirms that SMEs can be analyzed by clusters but further research would be necessary to confirm the effectiveness of using the recommended CI software over a longer period of time. The authors would like to note that some of the diagrams (Diagrams 3 and 4) and tables (Tables 1 and 2) featured in this article are only partially shown and had to be resized and cropped to fit the publication’s requirements and dimensions. (Abstract by authors)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Competitive Intelligence (CI), Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Centre for Graduate Studies
Depositing User: Shahril Effendi Ibrahim
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 07:44
Last Modified: 16 May 2013 01:10

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