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Enterprise system investments for competitive advantage : an empirical study of Swiss SMEs

Walsh, Gianfranco and Schubert, P. and Jones, C. (2010) Enterprise system investments for competitive advantage : an empirical study of Swiss SMEs. European Management Review, 7 (3). pp. 180-189. ISSN 1740-4754

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Previous research identifies various reasons companies invest in information technology (IT), often as a means to generate value. To add to the discussion of IT value generation, this study investigates investments in enterprise software systems that support business processes. Managers of more than 500 Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) responded to a survey regarding the levels of their IT investment in enterprise software systems and the perceived utility of those investments. The authors use logistic and ordinary least squares regression to examine whether IT investments in two business processes affect SMEs' performance and competitive advantage. Using cluster analysis, they also develop a firm typology with four distinct groups that differ in their investments in enterprise software systems. These findings offer key implications for both research and managerial practice.