A mobile order management system for small businesses
The development and adoption rate of mobile technologies is rapidly increasing on a global scale. Mobile based e-business solutions are also emerging as applications that small businesses could adopt to boost their business performance and lower their costs of operation. This is especially relevant in Kenya where most small businesses have no access to sophisticated e-business solutions that can support critical business processes such as Order Management, which encompasses the process of delivery of products and services, and management of customer service. This can be attributed to the lack of low cost solutions that can be operated on readily available, low cost hardware such as smartphones and tablets. The objective of this research was to assess effectiveness of the application of mobile technologies to solve the problem of order management for Small and Micro Enterprises in Kenya. The methodology used involved an initial pre-study to determine how such an application should look like, followed by the development of the application as per the identified requirements and finally an evaluation of the application with potential users to assess its effectiveness in meeting the requirements. The target respondents for the pre-study and the system evaluation were small business located in Nairobi and its environments. The prestudy involved understanding what the business does, observing the unique environment in which each of the small businesses operate on and finally understanding the key requirements and system features that would be useful to the small businesses in an order management system. The evaluation of the developed application was carried out using researcher administered interviews and involved giving the businesses an opportunity to test the application of their own mobile phones in their unique business environments in carrying out order management functions. It was concluded that mobile technology can effectively be used to provide sophisticated e-business solutions to small businesses in Kenya that do not have the infrastructure and capital to setup full-fledged computer based e-business solutions.
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