Keywords: e-commerce, empirical, project spend, electronic commerce, performance evaluation, e-providers, provider evaluation
E-provider evaluation: an exploratory study
Companies engaged in e-commerce (EC) activities are continually looking for more sophisticated and relevant capabilities and e-providers are beginning to respond with promised improvements and innovations. However it has been difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to perform comparative evaluations of e-providers prior to the adoption of their products. It is evident that an identification of critical provider evaluation criteria and attendant quantification of benefits would aid both EC users and e-providers. This study collects and analyses data from 103 companies to identify and prioritise evaluation criteria and provider characteristics that are associated with goal performance in EC projects. A set of anticipations are developed about the effects of project spend on evaluation process attributes, and about evaluation criteria and their association with goal performance. Significant differences were found between small and large e-projects in their ranking of evaluation criteria, as well as in how provider characteristics are associated with project performance outcomes in different sized projects. The implications of these findings are discussed at length.