The future of Information Technology lies in cloud computing, whose primary objective is to reduce the cost of IT services while increasing production output, availability, reliability, flexibility as well as a decrease in processing time. Owing to few exploratory studies that explain the adoption of cloud services, this research tends to understand the factors affecting cloud service adoption decision by SMEs in Nigeria. Also, it proposes a solution based framework to tackle the identified factors in view of promoting cloud service adoption by Nigerian SMEs.
In view of the above, this thesis investigates the reason for slow adoption of cloud services with specific emphasis on Nigeria SMEs. Firstly, the existing literature in cloud service adoption by SME is examined based on Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method. This helps to inform the research gap in relation to cloud service adoption technique. Secondly, the thesis uses a mixed method approach integrating quantitative and qualitative methods to gather data through four stages of data gathering approach. The primary data gathering is based on quantitative (survey) stage 1 and qualitative (Focus Group) stage 2, which involves the studies identifying the cloud service adoption challenges specific to Nigeria SMEs.
Furthermore, a solution framework CLOUDSME which includes an ontologically developed Decision Support System(DSS) is proposed to tackle the challenge identified in Primary data gathering stage 1and 2. The proposed framework consists of four phases: The first phase deals with gathering information on how various cloud services address dynamic SME user requirements identified in the primary data gathering stage, this phase forms the building block through which the framework is built upon. The second phase which is the prioritisation phase Adopts Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) approach to deal with the issue of complex comparison, also the third stage of data gathering (quantitative) is performed whereby a group interview is carried-out to compare and assign weights to service provider offering in addressing user requirements using pairwise comparison scale. The Third phase addressing the issue of cloud service ranking. In this phase, the major contribution of this research is introduced, whereby a new formalism is proposed using rational relationships to tackle the issue of rank reversal associated with the traditional AHP approach. The fourth phase of the framework is the development of the ontological proposed DSS which comprises of the information gathered in phase 1, 2 and 3. The proposed DSS promotes cloud service Knowledge management, service recommendation and service ranking toward cloud service adoption decision making by SME managers.
The final stage of the research is the validation phase which comprises of construct validation. As well as user opinion and expert opinion and researcher opinion validation based on a survey (Quantitative) which makes up the fourth stage of the data gathering stages. The findings from the user opinion evaluation and validation prove the CLOUDSME has the capability to tackle the slow adoption of cloud services by Nigeria SMEs.