The Purchase of Information Technology Products by Dutch SMEs: Problem Resolution
This research focuses on the purchase of information technology (IT) products by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Netherlands. Based on nationwide representative survey data (a total of 1,252 IT transactions), the research considers the problems that Dutch SMEs are faced with and the way in which these problems are dealt with. On average, 28 percent of transactions are completed without problems. If problems are encountered, they mostly involve inadequate documentation (45 percent of all transactions). Frequently mentioned problems, such as incompatibility with other IT products and being over budget, occur much less frequently (about 25 percent of all transactions). Moreover, strong support was found for the existence of a specific sequence in dealing with ex-post problems. Nearly all SMEs at least communicate the problem to the supplier; if that does not solve the issue, it is almost always followed by active deliberation with the supplier about a solution. If that does not help, about half of the SMEs impose some kind of sanction (most of the time delaying the payment). If that still does not settle the issue, virtually all SMEs give up on it. Third parties, such as arbitration committees or the courts, are rarely invoked.
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