It is against the background of low engagement by SMEs in e-business that this article seeks to highlight the potential importance of aggregation and of the role of trusted third parties in facilitating higher levels of involvement. The article is based on an ongoing SME e-business research programme and reports on some recent research on SMEs that were using high complexity e-business applications; it explores the extent to which the research findings could address the core concern of low engagement. This qualitative case study based research includes analysis of data collected from 13 community intermediaries, acting as trusted third parties. It concludes that the role of community intermediaries appears to be central to the adoption of critical e-aggregation applications provided by service providers. For policymakers, this important role of critical e-aggregation applications in facilitating e-business engagement by SMEs has emerged as part of this research but there is limited evidence of policy initiatives that reflect this.
- ICT adoption
- qualitative case study