It has been widely recognized that little and average endeavors non merely play an of import function in the economic system of a state, but are important to the state ‘s economic stableness. In New Zealand SMEs make up more than 99 % of all concerns and history for approximately 60 % of employment. In the USA more than half of all the employment comes from houses with fewer than 500 employees ( Baldwin et al 2001 ) . In the UK, SMEs employ 67 % of the work force ( Lange et al 2000 ) . In most EU member provinces SMEs make up over 99 % of endeavors, 67 % of occupations and 59 % of GDP. In most states SMEs generate a significant portion of GDP and a cardinal beginning of new occupations every bit good as a genteelness land for entrepreneurship and new concern thoughts. The United States of America, UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other developed, every bit good as undeveloping, states are doing policies to ease the growing of SMEs. Recognizing the importance of information and communicating engineerings New Zealand spend about 10 % of her GDP on information and communicating engineerings, doing it the top ranking state in the universe ( Clarke 2004 ) . Estimates from the World Bank indicate that SMEs have contributed over 55 % per centum of GDP in OECD states and between 60 to 70 per centum of GDP in middle-income and low income states bring forthing 60 to 70 per centum employment ( Oman Economic Review ) . The above facts show that SMEs play a really of import function in the growing of economic system of a state, and Oman is non an exclusion.
2.2 Information and Communication Technologies Diffusion in developing states:
There are really few surveies about information and communicating engineerings acceptance in developing states ( Temtime et al 2003 ) , ( Mutula et al 2006 ) , ( Yeh et al 2007 ) , ( Ssewanyana et al 2007 ) , ( Lal 2007 ) look intoing acceptance of information and communicating engineerings in Nigerian SMEs, found that one of the major factors suppressing information and communicating engineerings diffusion and intensive use is hapless physical substructure. In developing states some of the information and communicating engineerings acceptance challenges include legal and regulative issues, weak information and communicating engineerings schemes, deficiency of R & A ; D, inordinate trust on foreign engineering and ongoing failings in Information and Communication Technologies execution ( Dutta et al 2003 ) .
2.3 Information and Communication Technologies Diffusion in Oman
A recent market study shows that GCC states ‘ current IT disbursement are $ 5 billion yearly and are expected to be doubled by 2010. Oman is emerging as one of the part ‘s strong and fast turning markets. Oman ‘s IT market is expected to turn from $ 230 million in 2005 to over $ 400 million by 2010 ( GulfBase 2008 ) and ( Inno Vest Group 2008 ) . Presently, the mean information and communicating engineerings disbursement in the part are between 2 % to 4 % of GDP as compared to an norm of 8 % in developed states. Besides, Personal computer incursion is below the universe norm. The highest growing rate of cyberspace usage entree over the past six old ages is an encouraging mark in the Middle East ( Patel 2007 ) . This shows that GCC states including Oman have made paces in progressing the development of information and communicating engineerings sector yet they have to travel a long manner in front to make to developed universe norms. Most of the information and communicating engineerings activities in these states like in other developing states are based on authorities ‘s enterprises and policies.
2.4 Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Oman:
An Arab Gulf state in the Middle East, Oman has a population of 3.1 million. Harmonizing to a recent ( UN 2008 ) study, among some of information and communicating engineerings acceptance indexs, Oman has 12.22 Internet per 100 users, 5.06 Personal computer per 100 users, 69.6 Cellular endorsers per 100 users, 10.65 chief telephone lines, and 0.58 broadband per 100 users. Oman has a Web Index of 0.4849 and ranked 52 in the universe, an Infrastructure Index of 0.1559, Human Capital Index 0.7659, and e-Government Index of 0.4691. Oman has an e-participation index of 0.2045 and rank 60 among the universe. It is at the underside of the list of the GCC states looking on most of the above mentioned information and communicating engineerings index indices. Recognizing the importance of information and communicating engineerings for the economic development of the state, Oman ‘s authorities has placed a great accent upon making a digital economic system as cardinal drivers for the sustainable growing of the state. Oman is to a great extent puting in information and communicating engineerings as one of the edifice blocks to diversify the economic system. In September 2003 Oman established Knowledge Oasis Muscat ( KOM 2008 ) , a engineering park as one of the enterprises taken to assist develop a knowledge-driven economic system, attract investing, and to function as an brooder for local startup companies in the
information and communicating engineerings sector. Besides, in 2006 the authorities of Oman created an Information Technology Authority ( ITA 2008 ) for developing a national IT scheme, aid facilitating and implementing an information and communicating engineerings substructure and supervising the execution of Oman ‘s digital scheme. The authorities has encouraged private sector to open universities and proficient colleges in order to increase information and communicating engineerings literacy in the state. Government of Oman has established a Sanad plan to promote entrepreneurship and develop SMEs by supplying them necessary finance, counsel and preparation. From the private sector a figure of organisations are lending in the growing of SMEs. For illustration Shell has established a $ 10 million Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund to supply capital and ongoing support for SMEs in Oman. Microsoft has signed a Memorandum of understanding with Ministry of Education to supply preparation in schools. Besides, there are a figure of other enterprises in topographic point in order to transform Oman into a digital society. It is hoped that all these stairss will increase diffusion of information and communicating engineerings in Oman in general including SMEs in close hereafter.
Harmonizing to an estimation of HSBC Middle East Bank there are merely 15,000 to 20,000 SMEs in Oman bring forthing merely 10-20 % employment ( Oman Economic Review ) . These estimations show that there is a important potency for the SMEs in Oman to turn in footings of part to GDP and employment, and to be competitory at regional and international degrees.
Recent old ages, clients utilizing nomadic phone have presented a really fast turning on value added services, such as games, ring-tones, stocks, GPS, MSN Mobile, and information services. It shows a opportunity for endeavors that nomadic channel is a new chance to present more complete services to consumers, to increase corporate trade name image and to supplement company merchandises. [ Mobile Marketing Association ( 2004 ) ] There are small researches in the literature about Mobile CRM but few articles have been deep discoursing client satisfaction in nomadic client relationship direction [ Facchetti, A. , Rangone, A. , Renga, F. , Savoldelli, A. ( 2005 ) ] , [ Virtanen, V. , Bragge, J. , Tuunanen, T. ( 2005 ) ] . Though the nomadic medium entree to pull off client relationship, it brings non merely new minutess possibilities but besides new challenges. To run a successful Mobile CRM, a stable technological substructure is necessary.
2.5 Mobile Technologies
Mobile engineering is closely connected with omnipresent calculating and covers a wide technological spectrum from RFID, nomadic communicating devices to independent automatons [ ( Lyytinen and Yoo 2002, Smith 2007, Kalakota and Robinson 2001 ) ] . This research draws the attending on nomadic communicating devices such as smartphones or PDA ‘s with drawn-out functionalities such as for cross media communicating or planetary placement system ( GPS ) entree. Their impact on concern procedures and the ways of carry oning concern has been analyzed from legion positions so far, for illustration on concern procedures in general [ ( Fano and Gershman 2002 ) ] , supply concatenation direction ( SCM ) [ ( Teck-Yong 2006 ) ] , value webs [ ( So and Chung 2005 ) ] or in relation between engineering and concern service [ ( Carlsson et al. 2005 ) ] . With respect to CRM alone device features such as nomadic web entree points, client interaction points, smart personal computing machines or tracking devices [ ( Kalakota and Robinson 2001 ) ] seem to hold the potency for heightening nomadic CRM procedures ( see Figure 1 ) . The devices can be used to speed up procedures by leting location independent entree to information resources every bit good as systems and to alter the manner how companies interact with their clients. They can be used to replace personal communicating, aid to easy place the clients at any clip and even to find a physical location every bit good as status via GPS, web entree point or near-field communicating ( NFC ) . But it has besides become clear that the value of nomadic engineering should non be overestimated. Real benefits can merely be achieved if nomadic engineering is implemented within the concern logic and an appropriate proficient substructure [ ( Kalakota and Robinson 2001, Kadyte 2005 ] ) . The embedment of nomadic devices into concern procedures should hence be accompanied by a concern procedure redesign that makes careful usage of the alone features of nomadic devices and delivers extra value to clients [ ( Reuver et al. 2008, Tarasewich et al. 2008 ) ] . Otherwise the possible users or clients will non accept them because of the drawbacks that mobile devices besides imply [ ( Gebauer 2008 ) ] . Users may non merely experience ever contactable and traceable but besides do web and sometimes service suppliers charge important fees.
Mobile web entree point
Provides location independent and omnipresent entree to information, systems and services every bit good as assorted characteristics to interact with them
Customer interaction point
Enables to place the nomadic users by the device ID, telephone figure or stored codifications and to entree individualized services
Smart personal computing machine
Offers a nomadic information storage every bit good as a platform for application to hive away and treat informations Tracking
Enables finding of real-world locations every bit good as proviso of location based services
Figure 1: Unique nomadic devices features for Remote Business Managing
Phone communicating services offer the easiest manner of communicating and coaction but are cost-intensive ( e.g. skilled contact individuals are necessary for communicating ) and handiness can be limited ( e.g. working hours ) . They besides offer entree to automated service such as synergistic voice response for machine-controlled routing of clients to skilled employees or to trip a call-back. Messaging functionalities use SMS or MMS and are inexpensive to recognize but besides deficient for time-critical or synergistic communicating about complex issues. They can be used by messaging services for one-way information bringing or for simple duologues with automated services based on standardised messages ( e.g. petition of history balances ) . Advanced nomadic devices open their operating system for the executing of external applications and processing of informations. This functionality can be used by nomadic applications, but their development can be expensive and implies the hazard of mutual exclusivenesss with other systems. Connections to the cyberspace or nomadic webs have become of import in recent old ages because the bandwidths have significantly increased while the associated costs have decreased. This functionality offers entree to web-based information via Mobile portals, to take part in concern procedures via the portal services every bit good as to synchronise nomadic client-server applications.
Offers the basic telephone map for direct communicating and to utilize call-back or synergistic voice response services
Is able to have and direct text or multimedia messages ( SMS/MMS )
Platform for nomadic applications ( e.g. Java applications ) and to entree extra equipment ( e.g. pressmans, storage cards )
Entree to specific WAP sites, optimized web content for nomadic use or normal internet-content via nomadic browser
Figure 2: Basic functionalities of nomadic devices ( Smith 2007 )
2.6 Business Processes Perspective
Valiente and van der Heijden suggest a five-step method with which to analyse concern procedures in order to place mobilisation potency ( Valiente and van der Heijden, 2002, van der Heijden and Valiente, 2002 ) . Basically, they suggest mapping bing procedures with a standard procedure patterning method, adding location and mobility information to all activities and placing the information dependences between location and mobility. Afterwards, the mobility of the histrions in the theoretical account is increased ( or “ complicated ” as Valiente and van der Heijden name it ) , which is so supposed to bespeak possible for mobilisation, if there are dependences between the nomadic histrions or histrions at differing locations. In a concluding measure, these potencies should be evaluated for exploitability by agencies of nomadic information systems. However, Valiente and van der Heijden do non propose a manner of transforming the unnaturally complicated procedure theoretical account into realizable procedures. Furthermore, their method does non cover the focal point on specific ends which should be derived from a pre-set scheme. The conformity with coveted ends merely occurs in a concluding measure. Therefore, virtually all procedures within an organisation would necessitate to be analyzed, which seems infeasible.
With their nomadic concern procedure landscape gardening ( MBPL ) method, Gruhn et Al. purpose to get the better of this failing ( Gruhn and Book, 2003, Kohler and Gruhn, 2004 ) . They suggest the multi-layered mold of concern procedures, get downing on a macro bed that describes the nucleus concern processes on a degree such as “ there is a gross revenues procedure ” ( Kohler and Gruhn, 2004, p. 242 ) . They suggest placing dependences between procedures and organisation units by adding location and mobility properties, similar to that suggested by Valiente and van der Heijden. The following degrees of analysis are the map degree, the activity degree and, eventually, the information object degree. After patterning each degree, merely those elements of the theoretical account in which a mobility potency has been identified, need to be investigated farther. In our sentiment, there is the hazard that, in the beginning, potencies will be overlooked in MBPL due to the abstraction degree being excessively high, which means that the dependences between units will be internalized into a larger unit and will, accordingly, non look in the theoretical account. For illustration, on the degree of “ there is a gross revenues procedure ” , the dependences between the field gross revenues agents and their back-office maps are internalized.
There is evidently a struggle between the ends of practicableness and the truth of the mold method. Davenport et Al. ( 1996 ) concentrate specifically on the reengineering of knowledge-intensive procedures and happen that the involved persons will most probably non accept an excessively structured attack. Since we have already identified CRM processes as cognition intensive, this should besides be applied in our context. A intentional solution ‘s credence is more likely to be achieved if the concluding users are involved in the design procedure. Peffers and Tuunanen ( 2005 ) therefore suggest using participative methods, such as the critical success ironss ( CSC ) method, to leverage the available cognition within the organisation.
Procedures consist of activities and frequently it is non the full procedure which is mobilized, but merely certain activities within the procedure. This is reflected in the end of interrupting down the procedure as declared by Valiente and van der Heijden every bit good as by Gruhn et al. Several writers suggest undertaking features to be included when patterning nomadic applications or services.
Once potencies have been identified, the involved information objects and information systems can be assumed to be nomadic, and activities bridging the dependences can be removed from the procedure. If, for illustration, an bing procedure involves a gross revenues agent who begins his work twenty-four hours by picking up the latest client histories every bit good as his day-to-day agenda at the office, visits the clients on his agenda, makes assignments with them, modifies contracts, marks new contracts etc. and eventually returns to the office to come in the modified and new informations into the endeavor systems, there are dependences between the “ visit client ” activity and the “ client histories ” information objects, while the “ see the office ” activities are bridging activities. By mobilising the information objects, the bridging activity could be eliminated.
The value of this mobilisation potency should besides be assessed in cooperation with the employees who are involved in the modified procedures. The mobilisation ‘s value lies in different dimensions ( cp. Clarke Iii, 2001 ) . It is possible that non all of these values could be easy converted into a fiscal benefit. The involved employees ‘ inputs should hence be used to prioritise the potencies comparatively.
2.7 Information Systems Perspective
Traditional IS are typically designed for stationary usage and are therefore based on extremely standardized hardware constituents such as desktop and laptop Personal computers. Hence, the IS design can concentrate on the package constituents and see the hardware given and accordingly external to the system ( this even applies to parts of the package such as the operating system ) . However, this does non keep true for a nomadic information system. The picks for entree devices are legion and heterogenous in characteristics and functionality. The pick made impacts the farther design determinations, since the devices are non standardized to a degree equal to that of desktops. The options include the laptop, already known from stationary IS, or its “ twin ” , the TabletPC. More common picks are hand-held devices such as personal digital helpers ( PDA ) and cellular phones every bit good as a combination of the latter, the so called smartphones. Analysts such as Forrester Research on a regular basis provide overviews and categorizations of such devices ( Golvin et al. , 2004 ) .
The pick of device should evidently be made with regard to the intended application context ( Allen and Wilson, 2004, Haugset, 2004 ) . Equally far as the package platform is concerned, the device determination normally determines the device platform every bit good, but for a nomadic information system there are still farther multiple picks. Sellers such as SAP, Siebel and Microsoft offer nomadic clients for their CRM merchandises, which can either be run locally on different platforms, such as PalmOS or Windows Mobile ( in connected or disconnected manner ) , or on a nomadic web browser as a thin client ( merely in connected manner ) . This already implies suitableness in regard of different undertakings as defined in the procedure analysis. Obviously, applications which can besides be run in staccato manner support a wider scope of locations and mobility demands, since despite all ubiquitousness promises wireless webs ( cellular or other ) are non faithfully available in every state of affairs.
Besides clients for nomadic users, their integrating with the backend endeavor applications is important to to the full work the nomadic potency. Standard offerings, such as SAP, Siebel or Microsoft ‘s nomadic CRM, integrate via their endeavor ‘s CRM systems. However, illustrations from the industry are frequently based on custom-developed solutions, for which there are multiple proficient attacks to integrating. Sairamesh et Al. ( 2004 ) propose an architecture which specifically takes disjunction, synchronism and application context into consideration. A archetypal execution of their architecture, based on Java engineerings, promises a generic and flexible pertinence. Mobile middleware is already available every bit good, illustrations being the Java-based IBM everyplace merchandise household, or the.NET-based Microsoft model which is besides available in a compact edition suitable to mobile devices.
An execution that integrates a complex domain-specific endeavor application such as CRM, is, nevertheless, still missing. Shepherdson et Al. ( 2003 ) suggest a model called “ mPower ” which is based on multi-agent engineering and provides a mention execution that supports a nomadic work force. Baresi et Al. ( 2004 ) take a different attack and extend stationary workflow direction attacks to distributed and nomadic work flows, therefore supplying a formal method with which to pattern these work flows based on the concern procedure executing linguistic communication ( BPEL ) .
Glissmann et Al. ( 2005 ) suggest a demands analysis to place the nomadic users, their personalization demands ( e.g. , a gross revenues agent might desire an overview of merely those clients for whom he is responsible ) and their information demands. These informations could be taken straight from the paperss produced in the concern procedure analysis. Subsequently, the conceptual design includes determinations about the devices every bit good as the client type. These are dependant on the mobility and “ wireless-ness ” categorization every bit good as the nomadic activities ‘ clip restraints as specified in the procedure analysis. A high grade of mobility, for illustration, requires little devices which allow single-hand usage to enable usage on-the-go. Time restraints have an impact on the determination whether on-line entree is required, or whether scheduled synchronism is sufficient. The activities ‘ location belongingss besides influence both the device choice ( e.g. in certain unsmooth locations a ruggedized device is necessary ) and the type of package client ( e.g. in distant locations cellular or even W-LAN webs are non available, which hence requires offline usage of package ) . Finally, the physical design must take the information flows as described by the procedure analysis into consideration and must fit these to bring forth user interfaces specifically geared towards the activities that are to be supported. With nomadic devices ‘ typically limited input/output capablenesss, certain maps ‘ low complexness and high specificity specifically lead to the user interface ‘s good task-technology-fit.
Both the device and platform determination addition another degree of complexness if the nomadic information system under design marks consumers or other people external to the implementing company. Normally there are no policies or criterions regulating these users ‘ pick of device or platform, which means that the client package is required to back up virtually all devices and platforms available on the market, both now and in the foreseeable hereafter. A client would most likely be really disgruntled if a service which he has subscribed to is non available on his device and/or platform, and a nomadic selling run ‘s effectivity would be really limited if merely a certain device or a certain platform is supported. In such instances, it is hence extremely recommended to concentrate on supplying the client utilizing widely available criterions such as nomadic electronic mail, an SMS service, nomadic browsers, or the micro edition of the Java industry criterion ( J2ME ) .
2.8 Change Management Perspective
Multiple surveies on consumer credence of nomadic services and applications have been performed. Leung and Cheung ( 2004 ) suggest that consumers ‘ attitude towards nomadic selling is dependent on marketing messages ‘ informativeness ( enhanced by personalization and localisation ) and amusement ( defined by sensed joy, perceived gaiety and flow ) . Anckar et Al. ( 2003 ) analyzed consumers ‘ acceptance of nomadic commercialism applications and found that adoption/rejection determinations were determined more by the sensed benefits than by the sensed barriers on which theoretical accounts, such as the engineering credence theoretical account ( Davis, 1989 ) , focal point. Constatinou et Al. ( 2004 ) support this by happening that the monetary value of nomadic services ( evidently the opposite number of its value ) “ remains the most of import property ” .
Very small research investigates the acceptance of nomadic applications in a concern context. In this context, factors such as employer policies can evidently overrule single penchants. Nevertheless, user credence is a critical issue. Haugset ( 2004 ) , for illustration, finds that smaller devices are non needfully better and that “ back uping mobile work must be done in understanding with the overall work context ” . Allen and Wilson ( 2004 ) support this every bit good as a consequence of experiences with a nomadic information system for a UK constabulary force. In both plants, instance surveies reveal that neglecting to analyse nomadic workers ‘ existent work contexts leads to the unintended usage of the nomadic information system, or even level refusal to utilize it. Lee et Al. ( 2004 ) apply Goodhue ‘s ( 1995 ) task-technology-fit theoretical account to explicate nomadic applications ‘ public presentation. They find that single user features play an of import function in nomadic applications ‘ acceptance and ensuing public presentation. None of these theoretical accounts provide recommendations on how to turn to nomadic applications ‘ critical design or alteration direction factors during their debut.
Glissmann et Al. ( 2005 ) suggest a participative method for the design of nomadic user interfaces which emphasizes the importance of affecting the terminal user in the design, and covers the pick of devices, client type ( on-line vs. offline vs. loanblend ) and integrating platform harmonizing to the undertaking demands. Nevertheless, measures that should attach to the transmutation, such as communicating and employees ‘ modified aims, have non as yet been conceptualized.