Towards Integrating Information Technology Systems and Business Planning in Small Firms
Zelea;em T. Temtime * (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business, University of Botswana)
Download Article | Published On 01/02/2007

Abstract

Surviving and growing in today's turbulent markets require Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to use information technology systems (ITS) to capture, process and analyze information input for business planning and managerial decision making. Although the planning behavior and use ofiTS are key areas in strategic management, the literature is dominated by the practices of large, multi-national firms. Research on the relationship between ITS utilization and strategy making in the context of SMEs in developing African economies is scarce. This paper examines the planning orientation and the use of ITS in SMEs in Botswana. Data were collected from a convenient sample of 56 SMEs in Botswana through questionnaire and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The paper presents five important findings -(1) all SMEs in Botswana engaged in some form of business planning; (2) planning orientation varies with firm size. Medium sized firms put greater emphasis on strategic planning than do small sized firms. Small firms are excessively operational and short term oriented. As frrm size increases from small to medium, planning orientation changes from mere operational to long term and strategic planning; (3) ITS usage varies with frrm size. Almost all SMEs confirmed that they use microcomputers and some computer software packages in their day to day operational and planning activities. However, medium sized fmns tend to use the various software packages more extensively than smaller firms; (4) the degree of utilization of ITS (microcomputers, software packages and computer aided business application) varies with business planning orientation. Strategic planning oriented SMEs are using ITS more frequently than do operational planning oriented SMEs. The paper suggests that SMEs should be assisted to improve the quality of their business plalUling and strategic decision making through the use of ITS and understand the various long term advantages of investing in ITS.

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