4.1. Actual Users of E-Procurement Systems in the Nigerian Construction Industry
The study evaluated the actual users of e-Procurement systems in the Nigerian construction industry. The actual users were presented based on the profession and type of organization. In Aduwo et al. [18
], there was a clear relationship between the professional background of construction stakeholders and their use of e-Procurement systems. Figure 5
presents actual users of e-Procurement technologies based on their professions. In Figure 5
, across the six zones investigated in Nigeria, 192 (25.3%) Architects, 69 (9.1%) Builders, 120 (15.8%) Engineers, 52 (6.9%) Contractors, 37 (4.9%) Construction/Project Managers, 200 (26.4%) Quantity Surveyors, and 55 (7.2%) Estate/Facilities Managers had participated in the use of e-Procurement systems. The result revealed that Quantity Surveyors were mostly involved in the use of e-Procurement technologies compared to other professionals. This result follows the findings of [5
] that Quantity Surveyors were the most users of e-Procurement technologies in the Nigerian construction industry. This may be attributed to the exposure of the Quantity Surveyors to the innovative tool by their professional bodies through the continuous professional development (CPD) trainings. This notion is spurred by the early awareness of electronic tendering among Quantity Surveyors as shown in the study by [5
Further analysis on the type of organizations that were mostly involved in the use of e-Procurement in the built environment is shown in Table 3
. In Table 3
, contracting firms have the largest participation in the use of e-Procurement systems. More than 60% of contracting and consulting firms have participated in the use of e-Procurement technologies in the Nigerian built environment. However, only 20% of government ministry/parastatal/institution have used e-Procurement systems compared to the large number of construction projects that are procured via these institutions as government is the largest client of construction works in the Nigerian construction industry. In previous studies, consulting firms used to take the lead in the uptake of e-Procurement systems [18
]. However, contracting firms have overtaken in the use of e-Procurement systems in the Nigerian construction industry. Interestingly, they are closely followed by consulting firms. Findings from [25
] in the South African construction industry also support the notion of the private sector which includes contracting and consulting firms leading in the use of e-Procurement systems. Aduwo et al. [18
] attributed the similarities in findings from the Nigerian sector and the South African sector to the similar patterns that exist in the socio-economic and technology space of the two countries. However, in the study by Eadie, Perera, Heaney, and Carlisle [26
], the reverse is the case. Their study showed that in a developed country like the United Kingdom, the government plays a crucial role in the high adoption of e-Procurement technologies by the public sector compared to their private sector counterparts. Aduwo et al. [18
] suggested that for e-Procurement systems’ usage to be entrenched in the culture and procurement process of the Nigerian construction industry, the governments need to provide the required leadership and seamless legal and policy backing for the uptake of e-Procurement technologies. Since the Nigerian government is the largest construction client, an uptake of e-Procurement systems by its ministries, agencies, and departments (MADs) would go a long way in increasing the adoption of the innovative tool. In addition, once e-Procurement systems have been integrated in the procurement of public projects, there would be more commitment in providing the reliable, affordable, and fast Internet services and other ICT infrastructure needed for an unbroken construction procurement process.
4.3. Critical Success Factors for the Adoption of E-Procurement Technologies
This section identified critical success factors crucial for the adoption of e-Procurement technologies. The 21 CSFs were identified from literature as affecting a developing country such as Nigeria in [7
]. It is important to identify factors that are peculiar to the terrain in order to guide the successful adoption of e-Procurement by Nigerian construction stakeholders. The uniqueness of this study is using actual users to identify the CSFs to identify the adoption parameters of e-Procurement technologies. Table 6
presents the mean score rating of the CSFs for the adoption of e-Procurement technologies based on the 5-point Likert scale used. The result in Table 6
was then ranked accordingly. From Table 6
, all the CSFs have high influence on the adoption of e-Procurement technologies in the Nigerian construction industry. The result revealed that construction stakeholders perceived the availability of reliable, affordable, and fast Internet services as the most critical success factor for the adoption of e-Procurement technologies. E-Procurement technologies are web-based systems and therefore require Internet facilities to function. In fact, the Internet services must be one that is reliable, affordable, and fast. These findings are corroborated in the studies by [5
], that the poor internet facilities play a crucial barrier to the uptake of e-Procurement technologies by construction stakeholders.
The study by [8
] in Kenya showed that a reliable internet service provider is a crucial component in the execution route of e-Procurement systems. The challenge of slow internet connection is also visible among users of cloud computing technologies in the Nigerian construction industry [27
]. In the study by [14
], they noted that despite the diffusion and large population of internet users in the Nigerian environment, the internet services are rather on the low side. Currently, there are very few internet providers supplying Internet services to the population of over 190 million Nigerians. The Internet services are also very limited and restricted to urban cities and relatively very high to maintain by the users in terms of high monthly data subscription. For the success of e-Procurement in the construction process, there is a need for adequate investments in the internet infrastructure. Construction firms that want to adopt e-Procurement technologies must therefore subscribe to the best internet provider because the use of e-Procurement systems can only exist or function via internet facilities.
The study sought further to classify and reduce the CSFs in order to understand the similarities and characteristics of the factors. Extraction was performed using principal component analysis on the 21 CSFs.
The scree plot in Figure 6
helped to identify the number of components to be considered in the principal component analysis by retaining those above the elbow in the line plot. In Figure 6
, it is noted that the direction of the scree plot differs after the third component. This is also confirmed in Table 7
, which showed the total variance explained a three-component solution in the component transformation matrix.
From Table 7
, a cumulative variance of 50.2% variance was explained where factor 1 contributed 38.1% variance, factor 2 contributed 6.6% variance, and factor 3 contributed 5.5% variance after extraction. The study specified a factor cut-off point of 0.45. From this, the three-factor components were presented in Table 8
. Table 8
presented the rotated component matrix of the critical success factors (CSFs) for adoption of e-Procurement systems in the construction industry. The three-factor components were titled management support for physical infrastructure, and human factors and characteristics of the technology. By this, the aim of the principal component analysis was fulfilled by classifying and reducing the 21 CFSs identified into 3 components and 20 factors. The first component which explained a variance of 38.1% is titled management support in the provision of the physical infrastructure needed for the success of e-Procurement systems in the construction industry. The number and nature of variables loaded on this factor as shown in Table 8
did not come as a surprise. This is simply because the availability and accessibility as well as type and quality of physical infrastructure, such as Internet facilities, e-Procurement tools, and application, ICT infrastructure in terms of hardware, skilled personnel, and power supply in any organization is a function of top management attitude towards the use of such facilities and its readiness to invest in their acquisition. In the same vein, the level of awareness of e-Procurement technologies amongst staff members is also partly a function of the quality of IT savvy personnel recruited and the type of in-service training they are exposed to within the organizations. These issues are mainly within the purview of top management of firms and organizations in terms of policies and strategic decisions; and are essential components that should be put in place for effective deployment and sustained use of e-Procurement tools, technologies, and processes. According to [28
], these CSFs can be regarded as organizational related factors and constitute a barrier to the adoption of e-Procurement by construction stakeholders. This infrastructure needs management support due to the high financial commitment in the short-term needed to put them in place. This finding is supported by [26
], in that lack of upper management support and lack of access to IT infrastructure were major barriers among contracting firms in Northern Ireland.
Studies by [29
] showed that a major constraint to construction firm’s integration of ICT with their procurement process was the inability to access a friendly and technically sound e-Procurement system at the right price. Another major impediment in physical infrastructure is constant power supply as reported in [17
], sadly, it is still an issue [12
Crucial to the provision of all this ICT infrastructure is management support and commitment. This suggestion is in line with [18
] that those that would mostly adopt e-Procurement systems are those construction firms whose senior management supports the use of e-Procurement systems and have an encouraging attitude towards aligning with the current global trend on e-Procurement use in construction works. It is important to note that for the success of e-Procurement adoption in the construction industry, all the infrastructure to ensure seamless operation must be reliable and affordable. The imperceptible aspect of this factor is the need to still increase awareness of e-Procurement use and benefits in the construction industry. Even though there may be resistance to change, the top-to-bottom approach can be adopted, whereby increased management support can filter down to other construction staff.
The second component, human factors, explained 6.6% variance. In this component, several issues that revolve around the users of e-Procurement technologies and character of the users are highlighted. The major variable that explains the other components is the knowledge of the benefits of e-Procurement use in the construction industry. This can be related to the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) theory which describes how employees believe the innovative tool will improve their productivity on the job. This theory places emphasis on the importance of the fact that how users feel (human behavior) towards a particular tool will determine if they adopt a technology or not.
Studies from [31
] showed the underlying significance of considering professional’s attitude and self-efficacy in the adoption of ICT tools. Another important human factor is the skill possessed by the professional to handle the ICT tool, this was shown in the study by [33
]. The users’ characteristics explained in this section will ensure that the items in component 1 are successful. These users’ behavioral components include knowledge, literacy, trust, commitment, uniform standard, change management, and training. Notable among the variables loaded under this second factor is the existence of a uniform standard for describing, displaying and specifying construction materials, works, and services. The emergence of this under human factor is understandable because standards are created by human beings based on the existing cultural, social, economic, and technological norms locally and globally. Consequently, the essence of standards is to have a unified and generally accepted criteria or parameters for describing the characteristics of tangible and intangible entities amongst people. The implication of this finding is that in order to increase the adoption of e-Procurement systems in the construction industry, there is a need for entrenched understanding of common parameters for describing, displaying, and specifying construction materials, works, and services as well as the benefits of e-Procurement systems. Driving up the adoption of e-Procurement systems means that the users of e-Procurement systems must be computer literate and able to operate the e-Procurement environment. Users should develop high trust for the system that it is able to deliver on the benefits attached to them. Once a construction company accepts the adoption of e-Procurement systems, there should be adequate commitment from the employees to use the new system. However, there may be some resistance to the new technology, therefore, construction firms must put in place an effective change management plan and training of all the stakeholders involved in the procurement process.
The third component, characteristics of the technology, explained 5.5% variance in the critical success factors for the adoption of e-Procurement systems investigated in this study. This component explain that users of e-Procurement technologies are concerned with characteristics such as security, ease of use, legality, supportive systems, confidentiality, and compatibility of e-Procurement systems. This finding is also supported by the Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory of 1995. Specifically [34
], DOI theory noted that there are perceived attributes of an innovative tool or technology that would encourage or discourage its adoption by firms/individuals. Moreover, [25
] emphasized three attributes of relative advantage, compatibility and simplicity as major contributors to the adoption of e-Procurement tools and technologies. Developers of e-Procurement technologies should ensure that these characteristics are of the highest standard while ensuring user friendliness of the system.