The majority of SMEs have neither the internal expertise nor financial resources to enable in-house development of e-business and therefore turn to the services of website design consultants to assist them. Unfortunately, they often engage consultants without any clear idea of their intended e-business strategy and without due care as to effective engagement processes. This frequently leads to ineffective e-business development and a highly disaffected group of small entrepreneurs. This paper presents the initial findings from a study of ten Australian online retail business to consumer SMEs who contracted website design consultants to produce their sites. It assesses the effectiveness of Gable's (1989) 12-phase model for consultant engagement as a tool for evaluating SME website development outsourcing. The study suggests that there is a significant gap between the intended strategies of SMEs and the actual e-business strategy implemented.
Bode, Shirley and Burn, Janice, "Consultancy Engagement and eBusiness Development - A Case Analysis of Australian SMEs" (2001). ECIS 2001 Proceedings. 15.