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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 2
1.2. Research Questions 4
1.3. Research Objectives 5
1.4. Aim of the Research 5
1.5. Rationale of the Research 5
CHAPTER 2 6
LITERATURE REVIEW 6
2.0. Introduction 6
2.1. Computing and the Construction Industry 6
2.2. ICT usage in UK construction companies 7
2.3. The trends, benefits and roles of computer system in the Construction Industry 8
2.3. Use of Computer-Based Techniques for Marketing in the Construction Industry 10
2.4. Measurement of Customers Satisfaction Based on ISO 9001:2008 11
2.6. Technology and the Construction Industry 13
2.7. How the companies within the Construction Industries are targeted 14
CHAPTER 3 16
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 16
3.1. Introduction 16
3.2. Research Design/Philosophy 16
3.3. Rationale for Data Collection 17
Focus Groups 17
Structured-Phone Interviews 19
3.4. Research time Horizon 19
3.4.1. Time Management 19
Gantt chart 19
In the construction industry, the use of information technology has not been on the wider application in the management and operations of the companies. The use of old system makes the industry not to be dynamic in embracing the changes in technologies which should be implemented into the production and development of divergent product brands which meets the dynamism in the consumers taste and preferences (Harden & Heyman, 2009). In the United Kingdom, the construction industry contributes a gross value of 64 747 million pounds and employs over 2.2 million employees by 2009. Besides, in the industry, there are 194, 000 firms which contribute to the construction and development of the economy. However, out of all these firms and companies, a few of them have embraced the use of information technology and other computer applications so as to enhance faster production and quality of the product and production process. Currently, the builders have started to embrace the benefits of information technology into the system so as to improve the productivity of labour as well as capital.
When the Small and Medium Enterprises uses the computer-based technology in their marketing and management systems, there is a high possibility that the customer awareness shall be created making them be on the verge to gain the competitive and comparative advantage across the globe. These will boost the companies in the industry's market share hence leading to the development of the entire economy. The use of information technologies especially the use of websites will enable them to acquire the factors of production, effectively combine them so as to give an output which boosts consumers Sovereignty. With an increment of the consumers power of choices, there will be a boost in sales which in effect leads to an incline in revenues to the company as well as to the government. Therefore, there is a need for the adoption of information technologies in the entire systems and departments in the construction industry. However, in the case of Small and Medium Enterprises, the adoption can prove to be expensive due to the high costs which are embedded in its acquisition, implementation and management. Therefore, these firms or companies should seek for financial aid so as to help them adopt even a simpler technology which can boost the performance and make them competitive in the global markets (Charnock, $ Elizabeth, 2010).
During the implementation of the information technology into the construction sites or industry, there are various methodologies as well as strategies which are to be adopted so as to ensure it is effective and meets the needs of the customers, the society as well as the company. These include the construction of a highly convertible websites, do a regular search engine optimization, carry out a local SEO and data wrapping, use the social media, use the email marketing strategies, ensure an enhancement of good rapport with the customers through public relation techniques and make the best use of the digital videos as well as referral programs. The choice of the strategy thus depends on the cost, accessibility and convenience of the method to the users as well as the customers (Charnock, $ Elizabeth, 2010). Besides, the choice should depend on the availability of workforce as well as the willingness of the stakeholders to use the new system (Charnock, $ Elizabeth, 2010).
Therefore, in this study, the researcher aims at investigating the digital presence of SMEs within the construction industry's effect on the Reach to Customers within the Berkshire/Buckinghamshire Counties. Besides, it will uncover whether the digital presence can help to attract more customers, how much traffic the customer can get, the strategies to be implemented alongside the information technology and identifying the perceptions of the participants of using digital services as part of their growth strategies. The literature review is provided to recognise and appreciate what others have done in the recent past studies. Besides, the research methodologies are provided to analyse the methods in which the researcher has collected data and how the analysis is to be done.
1.2. Research Questions
Does having a digital presence attract more customers This will show whether it is worth the investment for SMEs
How much traffic via the website can each participant get (customer reach) Analytics data can monitor potential customers navigation
What other strategies may need to be implemented alongside this Search engine optimisation (SEO) or engaging with social media platforms may boost exposure of the company
How many of the potential customers attracted through the website, follow through to become actual customers To see whether people are just browsing past the website or genuinely searching for the services of the participant
What is the perception of participants of using digital services as part of their growth strategies This will show the thinking behind the company. Could they be a hindering potential growth or perhaps they may have other strategies being implemented
1.3. Research Objectives
To find out if the digital presence has an impact on customer reach
To observe if potential customers become paying customers
To see if this is cost-effective
To find out the reasoning behind SMEs not having a website.
1.4. Aim of the Research
The main aim of the research is to investigate the digital presence of SMEs within the construction industry's effect on the Reach to Customers within the Berkshire/Buckinghamshire Counties. These will aid to identify that the digital presence can help the firms to reach the customers as well as identifying the impacts they have on them. A hypothesis from for the research is that the companies are not networking or interacting with organisations within the computer/digital industry. The specifically involves businesses who deal with online marketing and other services that involve websites, social media and Google services.
1.5. Rationale of the Research
From previous experience with companies within the targeted industry, it is clear that many do not have any digital presence. Secondary research will be done to gain an overview of what other academic practitioners have discovered in the industries/fields that are relevant to the research conducted.
The chapter examines the studies that have been done in the past and are related to the subject of or deemed to contain information that is pertinent to this study. Literature review covers both theoretical and empirical studies on the influence of the effects of websites on the construction industry customers along the Berkshire counties. These will help to answer the research questions and give a clear trajectory on how the data should be analyzed to meet the research objectives
2.1. Computing and the construction Industry
According to studies, the use of websites has played a role in the reach or passage of information to various customers in every business sectors across the globe. In the construction industry, the use of website technology have enabled various companies across the industry to acquire the factors of productions which they put in better use during the construction process, hire labor and access the market in which they need to sell their services (Ibrahim et.al,2010). Given that construction industry is a wider industry and a busy one, there is need for the exchange of information from one person to another as well as from one department to another. These will ensure faster communication and delivery of data from one point of the industry to next. During the construction phase of the building lifecycle, the industry mainly depends on a large amount of data to accomplish their errands, therefore, the information provided on the sites should enable the builders to integrate data, control tasks, materials and resources as well as enhancing the communication between the company and various stakeholders such as customers and suppliers (Ibrahim et.al,2010). By the use of cloud computing, the construction industries across the world have managed to set up new job sites and allocate various strategies which they can use to align jobs with the skills one has, hence effective division of labor and specialization. According to Neil (1994), quite often, the construction employees need the industry information so as to make a viable, sound decision and develop good reporting abilities while working in the field. Besides, the cloud computing systems helps to offer an increased easy access and freedom to use the information at any point in time by the stakeholders of the companies in the construction industry. It also reveals the industry locations, the customers locations and the company within the construction industrys satellite offices. These make the work easier for the companys management hence leading to progress and an increment in the performance of the entire industry.
2.2. ICT usage in UK construction companies
In the 21st century, there is need for the construction industry to develop and understand the use of Information Communication Technology in their respective sites. The Small and Medium Enterprise need to adopt this system so as to improve their performance, and operations. However, the process sometimes proves not to be simple for them due to the increased costs which are embedded in the implementation of the information system. Therefore, the problem can also arise for the companies within the Berkshire County when they opt to make the use of websites to reach their customers. In countries like Malaysia, the governments...
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