The level of information systems integration in small - and medium sized enterprises operating in manufacturing sector in Ireland
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MA of Business Studies
Dublin Business School
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To operate efficiently companies rely heavily on information technology. The flow of data and information and an easy access to information stored in various IT systems and applications play a critical role in efficient business operation and management. Many businesses struggle with disparate information systems, where the same data is stored multiple times (data redundancy) and the access to business information is significantly affected. This research project investigates the role of information systems integration in Irish small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in the manufacturing sector. It briefly examines the role of SMEs in the economy, specifically the Irish economy, and the role of information technology in SMEs. Through the triangulation of the research methods, including literature and secondary data review and primary research it investigates the information systems (IS) integration in detail, including the problems related to disparate IT systems, the definition of IS integration, the benefits of and challenges to IS integration. The qualitative (semistructured interviews) and quantitative (questionnaire survey) primary research in detail investigates the sophistication of internal IT infrastructure within SMEs and whether the IT systems are integrated with each other, and if so, how well that integration is done. Moreover, the owner-mangers and senior managers attitude to IS integration issues is examined, including what are the reasons that prompt them to integrate IT systems within their businesses, what they expect to achieve from the IS integration, what challenges they recognise when integrating the systems and what are their criteria regarding IS integration. The findings are analysed in detail and conclusions are provided. In addition some recommendations for further research are included. It is believed this research will bring valuable insight into how SMEs manage their leT infrastructure, and how they utilise information technology that they have invested in. This research examines whether SMEs leverage their investment into technology to the full extent.