Scenario Thinking Approach for Leveraging ICT to Support SMEs in the Indian Construction Industry

Sawhney, Anil, Mukherjee, Kamal K., Rahman, Mohammed Abdul and Goulding, Jack Steven (2014) Scenario Thinking Approach for Leveraging ICT to Support SMEs in the Indian Construction Industry. Procedia Engineering, 85 . pp. 446-453. ISSN 18777058

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a number of significant strategic and operational roles in the construction sector. However, studies have highlighted a series of challenges within this sector, from value-proposition aversion (regarding ICT expenditure), through to lack of aptitude (capability), and inability to ‘measure’ tangible outcomes (benefits) associated with ICT deployment. Given these issues, and also acknowledging the levels of nested fragmentation that exists in sectoral disciplines – especially within small to medium enterprises (SMEs); this paper presents a chronology of interrelated factors peculiar to the sector which has directly/indirectly engendered this slow (low) technology adopter positioning of these organisations. This paper argues that there is a need to break the status quo use of ICT by SMEs in the Indian construction industry, and a need to realise the benefits garnered in other sectors as a means of not only enhancing the existing business, but also creating new innovation opportunities (especially in the early adopter S curve). Using a scenario thinking approach, this research presents a framework which highlights the causal “deficits” associated with low ICT penetration in the sector. This framework also identifies the key forces that influence and impact upon ICT usage in the construction sector, especially the interplay of key pivotal forces (through the competing push-pull continuum). A series of different scenarios for ICT uptake, adoption and diffusion are envisioned. These were developed with the help of industry experts in order to embed relevance and establish priorities against tangible indicators. This framework presents a future state ICT vision for SME's, one which places direct emphasis on SMEs’ perspectives (operational and strategic) and their future business aspirations.

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