SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

PhD Thesis
Dec 2015

Cloud Computing Adoption by SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dahiru, A A (2015) 'Cloud Computing Adoption by SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa'.


This research contributes to the growing body of research on cloud computing and addresses the paucity of research on cloud computing adoption, as well as information systems (IS) and information communication technologies (ICTs) adoption in sub-Saharan Africa. Through the use of a socio-technical framework, the research analyses and evaluates the factors that can influence the decision to adopt cloud computing and the effects of its adoption on development.
The methodology adopted for this research is a qualitative one with an interpretive viewpoint consisting of two major phases. A pilot exploratory study that involves the use of grounded theory was conducted in the initial phase and the development and adoption of a conceptual framework for analysis and evaluation was carried out in the second phase. Using these two approaches, the adoption of cloud computing in eighteen small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, and nine public and private enterprises in Ethiopia was investigated and analysed.
This research gauges the expectations of cloud users against their fears together with other related influences to draw important conclusions regarding the future of cloud computing usage in sub-Saharan Africa. The research presented in this thesis found that SMEs are aware of the consequences of adopting cloud hosted solutions. They also show less concern for adoption issues regarded as threats to adoption in the global north because they see cloud as providing a better option that is more secured and cheaper than locally hosted IS/ICT solutions. For instance, issues like security, privacy and trust concerns that are viewed as inhibitors in OECD member countries are playing a role in enabling the adoption of cloud hosted applications for sub-Saharan Africa SMEs. In essence the research analyses and evaluates the issues that can inhibit or enable cloud adoption by SMEs.
This research further contributes by showing how there can be differences in what drives adoption of cloud computing by SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that while previous research found evidence of the influence of mimetic pressures in South African firms that adopted cloud computing, no evidence of such influence was found in Nigeria or Ethiopia. It also shows that although SMEs come from different sectors, they share many of similarities in their fears and expectations.


Abubakar Dahiru


Julian Bass

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