Net Impact Study Canada : The SME Experience

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Preliminary Report
November 2002
Canadian e-Business Initiative (CeBI)

The Adoption Imperative

E-Business is an innovation that is improving the productivity of Canadian small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and raising the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. Through the "dot-bomb" and rumours of the death of the Internet, many SMEs continued to transform their key business processes and leverage the Internet for improving their business and enhancing their competitive edge. These firms "got it"; they understand that e-business adoption is about improving customer relationship management and implementing other Internet business solutions (Internet Business Solutions) that help them save money and expand their business with new and existing customers.

Canadian SMEs deliver 60% of Canada's economic output, generate 80% of national employment and 85% of new jobs. SMEs, more than any other area of the Canadian economy, have the greatest potential for productivity gains through adoption of e-business. Yet the Canadian e-Business Opportunities Roundtable, in its Fast Forward 3.0 report, stated that "small Canadian businesses still lag well behind their U.S. counterparts in e-business adoption". Some SMEs are still reluctant to embrace sophisticated e-business applications, in part because they remain unconvinced of the return on their investment. Because of the impact of SMEs on the Canadian economy, it is crucial to enhance our understanding of the impact of Internet Business Solutions.

The Canadian e-Business Initiative (CeBI), following in the footsteps of the Roundtable, is working with businesses, governments, institutions, entrepreneurs and consumers to enhance e-business understanding and to accelerate the adoption of e-business amongst Canadian SMEs. The challenge is to demonstrate that Internet Business Solutions adoption makes good business sense and that it is critical to Canada's economic well-being, by providing evidence of bottom-line impact on firms.

Net Impact Study Canada is based on the original Net Impact Study, which was first completed in the U.S. and subsequently, in the U.K., Germany, France and Italy. The Canadian study summarizes the results from a survey of 398 SMEs during the summer of 2002. This report presents some of the preliminary results of the Canadian research. The results suggest a call to action for government and industry to achieve the full benefits of Internet Business Solutions; they also address some of the perceived barriers to adoption.