Effects of ICT adoption by SMME owners on production in Borolong area of Botswana
Information and communication technology (ICT) has been the main focused of Botswana government to strengthen the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. This paper investigates the effects of information and communication technology (ICT) within the small and medium enterprise environment (SME) of the Borolong area of Botswana. ICT plays a pivotal role in the current knowledge economy. It is important for SMEs to get involved in this economy so that they can also compete and thrive in the future. The problem is that SMEs in the Borolong area of Botswana are very slow in terms of adopting ICT into their business so to attain competitive edge. The essence of this study is to show the SMEs of Borolong area the positive that comes along with ICT adoption into their firms hence the information contained in this paper will encourage the SMEs to adopt ICT and increase the rate of ICT adoption. Firms must take advantage of the power of ICT so that the can also be competitive. ICT tools are very essential for the competitiveness of the business. The article follows a quantitative research approach and uses questionnaires with closed and open-ended questions as a data-gathering method. Sixty seven (67) SMEs were interviewed. Gathered data is analysed using SPSS which is a statistical tool used for data analysis. The study mostly addresses the main research questions which deal with accessibility of ICT tools, drivers of ICT adoption, barriers towards ICT adoption, effects of ICT adoption and lastly it looks at training and funding opportunities available in Botswana. The study is concluded by summarizing all important aspects of the study including limitations of the study, recommendations on how to overcome the barriers and areas for further study are discussed. The study findings managed to answer all the research questions and find the cause of the research problem. The research problem is that the rate of ICT adoption by SME’s owners on production in Borolong area of Botswana is very slow and as such the research wanted to find out what could be the cause of this slow rate of ICT adoption. The study wanted to find out if SMEs in the Borolong area of Botswana have access to ICT tools and the findings revealed that they have access to a limited number of ICT tools namely radio, cell-phones, telephone landlines and government computers. The study also indicates flexibility of ICT tools as their main drive of ICT adoption. Arrays of barriers are discussed and the study indicates high set-up cost as the reason why there is a slow rate of ICT adoption in the Borolong area. The study also indicates that the government Botswana is assisting SMEs with ICT adoption by providing funding and training assistance. The study answered the main research question by explaining that ICT adoption by SMEs has a positive effect on production and ultimately it will benefit the overall business. The information contained in this paper will help SMEs and other related stakeholders to work together and improve the rate of ICT adoption in the Borolong area of Botswana. Most importantly it indicates the positives that SMEs can attain through ICT adoption into their firms and this will accelerate the ICT adoption process which has been a problem in the Borolong area of Botswana. For purposes of this study, Information and Communication Technologies will be interchangeably referred to as either ICT or ICTs and Small and Medium Enterprises will also be referred to as either SME or SMEs. This will be based upon the wide variation of usage of these terms.