Increasing the Reach of Enterprises through Electronic Commerce: A Focus Group Study Aimed at the Cases of Portugal and Spain

Ramiro Gonçalves, José Martins, Frederico Branco, Manuel Perez-Cota, Manuel Au-Yong Oliveira

E-commerce notably increases the reach of enterprises, bringing a firm‟s products and services into the international arena. In times of shrinking domestic markets, due to national crises, becoming available in global markets is essential for survival and growth. We have thus held three focus group interactions to produce a set of strategic recommendations with regards to how to improve e-Commerce adoption levels in Iberian enterprises, essential in times of local hardship and market contraction. Suggestions include creating actions to influence governments to re-evaluate the legislation that regulates e-Commerce, making it more transparent; encouraging venture capitalists, banks and business angels to finance such e-Commerce endeavors; encouraging higher education institutions (HEI) to partner with Iberian enterprises to ensure knowledge transfer in both directions; creating, with HEI and training organizations, a set of new training courses directed at Iberian enterprises and focusing on concepts such as Web 2.0 capabilities and a coherent online organizational identity. Fundamental is the perspective that e-Commerce is a strategic issue, warranting funds and qualified personnel, at different levels in the hierarchy, for adequate strategic e-intent, e-vision, and e-mission formulation, followed by effective e-process implementation.