Governments worldwide are using funding initiatives to encourage small businesses to adopt e-commerce technology. In Australia both State and Federal Governments have encouraged e-commerce uptake through the funding of Internet portal developments that have a specific community or business focus. The success of such portals, as with many Web developments, has been mixed and there is little evidence of any evaluation of the effectiveness of such investments. This paper reports on research into an Australian B2B business community portal from launch to closure. A survey and in-depth interviews with portal participants were undertaken. The research sought to understand how the portal had been developed, and what factors may have contributed to its demise. The findings identified a number of factors, not discussed in the literature, that are important in portal development. These include: how the development process is undertaken; technological readiness of the small business owners; meeting business expectations; and understanding the business community stakeholders. The results from this study suggest that portal projects such as this are problematic and funding bodies such as governments need to understand the factors that contribute to success before funds are committed.
Field of Research
080699 Information Systems not elsewhere classified