EFFECT OF ICT SOLUTIONS ON SME PERFORMANCE IN AWKA, NIGERIA
The study's goal was to investigate the influence of information and communication technology (ICT) on small-scale businesses in Anambra State, Nigeria. Four study questions were posed in order to identify the use of ICT to improve operational efficiency, promote production of goods and services using ICT, use of ICT in timely financial reporting, and impediments to ICT use in organizations. At the 0.05 level of significance, four null hypotheses were evaluated and utilized to steer the study.
The descriptive survey methodology was utilized for the investigation, and the instrument was a structured questionnaire. The study's population consisted of all 1251 registered entrepreneurs of medium and small scale firms in the private sector, from which 723 respondents were recruited. Mean and standard deviation were used to analyze the data collected, and a criterion mean of 2.5 was utilized to determine if the replies were high or low. Four null hypotheses were supported at the 0.05 level of significance.
The study's findings revealed that the use of ICT to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction was acknowledged. ICT such as web-based lessons, cyber guides, and telecommuting projects were frequently used for timely financial reporting, while the use of virtual classrooms and customised courses was negligible. Customers' inability to use technology, a scarcity of skilled employees, and taxation of internet sales were the key impediments to ICT adoption.
Based on the findings, recommendations were made, including that private enterprises should organize on-the-job training and offer opportunities for in-service training to their employees in order to make them more competent in the use of ICT, educational institutions should incorporate digital courses in all levels of education in order to develop ICT compliance workers at the points of employment, and entrepreneurs in Anambra state should develop digital networks in order to promote digital econ
1.1 The Study's Background
Small-scale business generates ideas that can help larger businesses. This may explain why small-scale enterprise is critical for generating fresh ideas and developing new business prospects (Shanghai, 2001). According to Ayeduso in Osuala (2004), whereas the term entrepreneur refers to the person or actor, small scale enterprise refers to the activities, efforts, abilities, skills, procedures, or sometimes the business unit itself.
According to Inegbenebor (2006), small scale enterprise is about developing the skills required to take on the risk of launching a business. It is about establishing strategies and putting them into action with zeal, persistence, and enthusiasm.
According to him, preparation for a small scale enterprise focuses on developing attitudes and skills for identifying economic opportunities, feasibility analysis, business planning, and formulating plans for the enterprise's sustainability and growth. Similarly, according to the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDA, 2004), a small scale enterprise develops when a person organizes and runs a commercial venture.
SMEDA further stated that small scale enterprises have a strong character of diligence, innovativeness, readiness to accept risk, ability to perceive opportunity, ability to mobilize human and material resources, being goal-oriented and focused, maintaining and tenacious in pursuit of growth and excellence. Small-scale entrepreneurship is unquestionably important in economic transition.
According to Ray, Adams, and McMilliam (1990), a small size firm is capable of discovering innovations that can improve customer happiness, promote operational efficiency, timely financial reporting, and cope with expansion constraints.
According to Hyper Dictionary (2009), enterprise is a purposeful or diligent effort, preparedness to take on daring new ventures, and a business organization. Many variables have been used by agencies in the classification of enterprises in Nigeria, as in other nations. Eneh (2005) distinguishes between micro, small, medium, and small scale firms. His categories incorporate workforce size, capital investment, yearly sales turnover, total assets, or a mix of these to classify businesses.
Medium-sized businesses have more than 50 million Naira in revenue but less than 200 million Naira in revenue, and employ 101 to 300 people. According to Obitayo in Eziama (2003), small-scale firms have a total investment of between 100,000 and two million naira. Similarly, Osuala (1993) defined a small-scale firm as any manufacturing or service industry with a capital investment of less than N150,000 in machinery and equipment and fewer than fifty employees.
According to Inegbenebor (2006), micro or cottage industries have one to ten workers, small scale industries have eleven to hundred workers, medium scale enterprises have one hundred and one to three hundred workers, and large scale firms have three hundred and one workers or more. According to Eneh (2005), the majority of enterprise positions are in the service and manufacturing industries.
Soap manufacturers, bakers, furniture makers, leather makers, printers, welders, automobile repair and maintenance, electrical services, fashion designers, hotels, banks, textiles, plastic, and pharmaceutical businesses are among them.
Eneh (2005) asserted that companies are indisputable keys to national economic development since they create jobs, wealth, alleviate poverty, promote equity, social security, and build a culture of self-help and self-reliance. He went on to say that they foster enterprise, productivity, chances for career and skill development, and rural and community development.
Similarly, the World Bank International Finance Corporation Report in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2007) stated that enterprises are important because they account for more than 95 percent of the economy on average, and their contributions to employment and the country's gross domestic product (GDP) are not insignificant.
According to UNDP, close to 140 million businesses in 130 countries employed 65 percent of the total labor force. Enterprises serve as the foundation for economic growth and innovation. Furthermore, Ike (2004) observed that firms respond well to social and free markets, creativity, innovation, encouragement of individual and group initiative, self-reliance, and, most importantly, self-fulfillment.
Adult education, which serves as an up grader, can have an impact on adult managers' ICT abilities. Crompley emphasized in Ugwoegbu (2003) that one of the easiest methods to boost productivity in developing countries is to ensure that adults are trained while they are already on the job. This is to assist the adult population in adapting to a fast changing world.
Similarly, Lowe in Ugwoegbu (2003) noticed that adult education embraces the perspective that education is life, not necessarily preparation for the unknown. As a result, in adult education, every effort is made to organize, train, and educate available workforce for rapid improvement and usage. Similarly, UNESCO stated in Ihejirika (2007) that adult education is a component of life-long education that begins in the cradle and ends in the grave.
The concept arose from the recognition of rapid changes in technology and institutions, which demand humans to update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with current events. Individual adults benefit from programs oriented toward lifelong education.
One purpose of life-long education is to provide individuals with numerous possibilities for self-renewal and social growth. In support of the preceding viewpoint, Anyanwu (1987) stated that adult education has a variety of effects on our economy. It not only increases the flow of talents, but it also helps people learn new techniques such as ICT.
It assists people in breaking down outdated attitudes that stymie growth while also connecting information to manufacturing processes. It has recently been observed that traditional crafts are losing out. As a result, people must be given fundamental knowledge that will enable them to learn about modern manufacturing methods and how to adapt to these shifting approaches that emerge during maturity.
Similarly, Eyibe (2005) stated that adult education training and retraining programs will help adult learners to obtain relevant skills to undertake useful employment in society. This is due to the fact that these training and retraining programs are designed to provide occupational training and retraining in vocational, technical, agricultural, and small-scale business skills.
The goal is to prepare individuals for self-employment, small-scale business ownership, or wage employment in factories or industries. Furthermore, David in Ihejiribka (2007) believed that adult education should be continued as a tool for each individual to better the inadequate education gained during his obligatory schooling. It must be a constant process of adapting worker training to technology advances and increasing the minimum amount of knowledge required.
It continues to be a chance for each person to assume broader responsibilities with ever-increasing skill. It is still a factor in encouraging self affirmation in a culture where all roads lead to a better, nicer, and more cultural existence for the worker. According to Hebborn (2010), the concept of continued education and training includes an emancipator function.
Continuing education makes a substantial contribution to both continuous individual growth and a sustainable future for the economy and society as a whole. It ensures the progressive development of knowledge, skills, and qualifications, while also encouraging new vocational orientations in the face of changing occupational biographies. Furthermore, continuing education is a key aspect in a region's economic development and desirability as a commercial location.
The desire for employable and enterprising Nigerians is not for degrees or qualifications, but for innovative individuals who can contribute significantly to the economy and society. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this research is to discover how the use of ICT has benefited small-scale enterprises in Anambra State, Nigeria.
1.2 Problem Description
In the past, entrepreneurs used outdated but less expensive technologies like as typewriters and cyclostyling machines, which are today riddled with drawbacks in the age of information and communication technology. This has a negative impact on the development of entrepreneurial skills. For example, using this technology does not allow for error correction, communication, document scanning, or formatting.
However, it has been discovered that with the arrival of ICT, entrepreneurial abilities are facilitated. ICT offers enormous potential for improving the abilities of entrepreneurs. It has facilitated training through online learning and contributed to a better business climate.
Scanning, organizing, and storing documents is achievable with a computer, but not with the traditional business tools employed by entrepreneurs. According to Chris (2012), the proliferation of personal computers and computer networks continues to have an impact on both large and small organizations. Entrepreneurs can use a computer and an internet connection to accomplish administrative activities such as paying business bills and marketing their business online.
E-mail and instant messaging allow for simple communication. Furthermore, Uchegbu (2002) stated that the advent and use of the internet has generated a significant revolution in communication that has the potential to improve the way we interact, study, negotiate, and transact business. This advancement in business is attributed to advancements in the ability to connect computers.
Despite these clear benefits, perspectives from the study's background suggest that businesses are still not taking advantage of ICT to improve their skills. These are, nevertheless, opinions, and the veracity of the opinions must be verified. This study's problem is to verify the impact of ICT on small scale enterprises in Anambra state, Nigeria.
1.3 The Study's Goal
The overall goal of this research is to investigate the influence of ICT on small-scale businesses in Anambra State. The study specifically wanted to:
Determine the extent to which entrepreneurs of medium and small-sized businesses use ICT to improve operational efficiency.
Determine the extent to which entrepreneurs of medium and small-sized businesses use ICT to improve customer satisfaction.
Determine the extent to which medium and small-scale business owners use ICT for timely financial reporting.
1.4 Research Issues
The study is guided by the following research questions:
To what extent do entrepreneurs of medium and small-sized businesses use ICT to improve operational efficiency?
To what extent do entrepreneurs of medium and small-sized businesses use ICT to improve customer satisfaction?
To what extent do medium and small-scale business owners use ICT for timely financial reporting?
At the 0.05 level of significance, the following null hypotheses were developed to guide the study.
There is no statistically significant difference in the mean rating of medium and small-scale firm entrepreneurs on the extent to which ICT is used to improve operational efficiency.
2 There is no significant difference in the mean rating of medium and small-scale firm entrepreneurs on the extent to which ICTs are used to improve customer satisfaction.
On the extent of applying ICT in Timely financial reporting, there is no significant difference in the mean rating of entrepreneurs of medium and small scale firms.
1.6 Importance of the Research
This study is important for private businesses since the findings will help managers become producers and innovators in high-value areas of the knowledge economy. In the global digital economy, the managers would be drivers rather than consumers. It would expose the employees to new ways of doing business.
The government would recognize the importance of being proactive in leveraging ICT for company development. The government and international funding organizations are interested in the general advancement of ICT in higher education.
The study would also benefit educational institutions by exposing the challenge of globalization and the information age for the transformation of the academic system from its traditional role of teaching, learning, research, and development methodology to ICT application, which is the latest revolution changing all aspects of human endeavor.
The research will help adult education administrators overcome the ICT knowledge gap in society through continuing and lifelong education. The study's conclusions will have a substantial impact on how people live, work, and play in society.
Finally, future academics would benefit from finding additional areas to investigate in ICT.
1.7 The Study's Scope
The study focuses on the use of information and communication technology on small scale enterprises in Anambra state, Nigeria. This research focuses on the registered private firms in Anambra, Nigeria. The study focuses on the use of ICT to increase operational efficiency, improve customer satisfaction through ICT, use of ICT in timely financial reporting, and impediments to ICT use. Other areas of ICT utilization were not covered by the researcher because the researcher believes that such topics can be covered by future researchers.
1.8 Research Limitations
During the course of the investigation, the researcher encountered the following limitations:
Respondents were hesitant to provide information to the researcher due to uncertainty in the usage of
Some questionnaires were not included for analysis due to incorrect filling and the failure of the entrepreneurs to return the questionnaires.
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EFFECT OF ICT SOLUTIONS ON SME PERFORMANCE IN AWKA, NIGERIA