The interest in multifunctionality and diversification emerged through the severe criticisms, during the last three decades, addressing the capitalization, concentration, and specialization of agriculture as well as its integration into agribusiness chains, which in turn, shrink its synergies with other fields of activity and between different levels and actors [1
]. In the agricultural sector, many changes have been made in production processes, information sources, as well as the usage of information due to the increase of technology and the development of computer networks. The spread of communication technologies has increased access to knowledge and sharing of information [2
]. That is why innovation is an important factor for businesses operating in the agricultural sector and helps them grow, be sustainable, and be competitive [1
The agritourism sector is considered one of the most significant pillars of the EU economy. This sector contributes to both employment and the economy [1
]. Many researchers have presented the multiple advantages of the development of various forms of tourism in rural areas. Moreover, tourism in rural areas, when being endogenously-owned and small scale is considered conducive to sustainable rural development. A significant challenge concerns the fact that entrepreneurs in this sector often lack appropriate skills they may be isolated from, without prior experience or training in tourism. Furthermore, other factors that prevent entrepreneurs from engagement with tourism related activities are age, the innovative character of the new activity, and the lack of sufficient capital [7
In Greece in particular, agritourism’s contribution to economic growth has increased over the last decade [7
]. While Greek agricultural companies concentrate on long-term sustainability, the lack of IT strategy produces ineffective and unsuccessful Information Systems (IS) projects [7
]. Significant issues relate to the lack of appropriate expertise, lack of financial resources and strategic planning for food businesses. In addition, costs are raised in the production processes and the usage of IS inefficiently [12
Despite the importance of the process of Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP), the strategic implementation of Information Technology (IT) is not sufficiently studied in the international agritourism literature and especially Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector are under-researched. As SMEs concentrate on growing innovation and growth, managers are trying to balance their business strategy with IT to keep companies competitive in the unpredictable environment that they are currently experiencing. However, limited strategic planning, the lack of structured processes in organizations, as well as the wasteful usage of IS increase the inability of managers to align business with IT strategies and leads to a long term decrease [14
]. Firm performance can be enhanced if managers in SMEs use formal processes during strategic management and information handling. As IT investments increase organizational performance and enable managers to align the business approach with firm performance, alignment is a significant issue for executives [18
This study aims to examine the relationship between SISP phases and success in Greek SMEs in the agritourism industry. Data for the study were obtained from IS directors in Greek SMEs in the agritourism industry. For the analysis of SISP process and success variables, ANOVA was used in order to indicate which phases of the SISP process significantly contributes to SISP success.
The internal reliability determined by the Cronbach’s alpha, ranged from 0.746 to 0.918, thus exceeding the marginally required level of 0.70 [31
]. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient values for the variables is presented in Table 3
The outcomes of Pearson’s correlation analysis done to ascertain the level and type (direct or inverse) of relationship amongst the variables are presented in Table 4
From the normal P-P and scatter plots (Figure 1
), the data are usually distributed (all residuals cluster around the ‘line’) and conform with the assumptions of homogeneity of variance (homo-scedasticity) and linearity. The residual errors are evenly spread and not linked to the predicted value, thereby suggesting that the correlation is linear, and the variance of y is the same among all values of x
, which supports the homoscedasticity assumption [8
]. Z-score was used to evaluate the univariate outliers and all values were within the acceptable range. Mahalanobis and Cook’s distances were used to evaluate the multivariate outliers. No influential outliers were identified. Variance inflation factors (VIFs) were used to evaluate multicollinearity.
shows the summary indicators of R, R2
, and adjusted R2
, along with the Durbin-Watson indicator and the standard deviation error of the regression. According to the R2
and adjusted R2
values of 0.775 and 0.755, approximately 75% of the variance in success is explained by the explanatory variables. Consequently, the regression model predicts success better since the explanatory power of the regression exceeds 50%. The results of the ANOVA regression in Table 6
also support the satisfactory prediction performance of the regression model. The F statistic is 35.587 with 61 degrees of freedom (5 from the regression and 56 from residuals), and the whole regression is significant at the 0.000 level.
shows the regression coefficients and the results of hypothesis testing. The path coefficient between the first phase of the process of SISP and its success was positive, but not statistically significant (β = 0.208, p
> 0.05). Therefore, H1 was not supported. There was a positive relationship between the second phase of the process of SISP and its success (β = 0.202, p
> 0.05), but not statistically significant. Therefore, H2 was not supported. There was a positive relationship between the third phase of the process of SISP and its success (β = 0.197, p
> 0.05), but not statistically significant. Thus, H3 was not supported. The path coefficient between the fourth phase of the process of SISP and its success was positive, but not significant statistically (β = 0.180, p
> 0.05). Therefore, H4 was not supported. There was a positive relationship between the fifth phase of the process of SISP and its success (β = 0.206, p
> 0.05), but statistically not significant. Thus, H5 was not supported.
The findings of this article prove that IS executives are not concentrating their attention on assessing the internal and external business environment. This outcome is significant since it confirms that managers in SMEs in the agritourism sector are not investing in Information Technology and that these companies cannot be competitive. In addition, an important outcome is that managers do not make efforts to organize the planning team and provide guidance on the implementation of IS projects. Another important process is the selection of employees who will be the members of the development team. This process is significant because team members should have cooperation and IT skills as well as motivation to develop effective IT projects. The projects that could not help a business to achieve their goals have been implemented by employees whose managers did not assist the planning team during the development of those revenues. Furthermore, these projects do not meet organizational processes and do not contribute to business development. The absence of management assistance from executives and the absence of clear guidelines on the execution of IT projects can negatively contribute to this output. These outcomes substantiate the rejection of the H1.
An important outcome is also the lack of understanding of executives about the value of IT strategy and the formulation of priorities for dealing with risks and crises. IT managers are unable to recognize areas because it is difficult to understand business processes. IT projects that are built on the present business processes are developed by team members. So, the IS plans are unable to achieve IT goals. This result reflects undesirable impacts SMEs are experiencing because of the lack of strategic planning.
Researchers in their studies pointed out that IS managers focus their energies on strategy creation and strategy implementation, ignoring the significance of strategic recognition and situation analysis. IS plans implemented are therefore inadequate, inefficient, and do not meet IT goals [14
]. These findings confirm the rejection of H4 and H5. Also, managers focus only on the minimization of project implementation time and cost. Managers pay attention only to the implementation of the SISP and the company’s strategic priorities are not in line with the IT goals, which in turn have a disadvantage for the company [14
All hypotheses were not supported because managers in this sector often lack appropriate skills, they may be isolated, without prior experience or training in tourism. Furthermore, other factors that prevent entrepreneurs from engagement with tourism-related activities are age, the innovative character of the new activity, and the lack of sufficient capital. Thus, managers face difficulties in understanding the significance of IS implementation and as a result in formulating, implementing, and evaluating strategic plans. Therefore, they ignore the analysis of the business environment, they do not support IT projects and due to limited resources and lack of innovation culture, they do not invest in IS.
This paper examined how the process of SISP affects the success in Greek SMEs in the agritourism industry. The outcomes of this paper suggest that IT managers are not concentrating their attention on the analysis of the internal and external business environment. A significant finding is also the lack of awareness by managers about the importance of IT strategy and formulating goals to predict threats. IS executives cannot find problem areas because company’s processes are not revamped. In addition, administrators concentrate primarily on reducing the project’s duration and lowering costs. The focus of managers only on process execution has negative effects as it can lead to shorter SISP horizons but not to match strategic objectives with IT ones.
Conclusively, this article has a twofold contribution. Firstly, concerning theoretical contribution, if IT executives understand these phases then they may focus their attention on achieving the goals of the organizations and maybe realize the importance of the planning procedure for their organization. IS executives should be aware of the five phases and must not neglect the individual responsibilities of each phase as this may stand as an obstacle to the company and prevent it from achieving its planned goals and increasing the profitability of the company. Secondly, the results help IT managers working in Greek SMEs in the agritourism industry and do not focus on implementing strategic planning in the growth of IS, but concentrate only on technical matters. Consequently, there is a need to recognize the importance of the process of SISP to draw up and execute IS strategy that will comply with business goals and expand the performance of SMEs in the agritourism industry.
A better understanding of the connection between business and IT strategy and organizational success is crucial over the years. To investigate what are the most important practices that lead to the creation of productive IT projects, researchers had to concentrate on the SISP process practices. Managers are required to pay more attention to day-to-day activities in order to achieve a greater extent of alignment and to understand the significance of formulating IS strategy. Potential researchers should therefore study alignment as a process involving activities that could lead to growing the connections between business strategy, IT, and efficiency across SMEs. Another avenue for further research is to investigate those responsible for decision making as well as the role they play in an organization and to examine the skills that are required for IS executives and how these skills are associated with increasing business value.
Finally, managers who implement all the phases of SISP process in agritourism SMEs can make more efficient and timely planned strategic and tactical decisions as the process provides them with updated information to analyze the external environment of the business. As a result, the environmental uncertainty is minimized as well as risk under dynamic change. Moreover, the implementation of a SISP process in agritourism SMEs provides a significant advantage for managers. In process managers’ final step, they will consider whether the plan is being followed and if the goals are being achieved. If not, action is required to change the execution activities or even modify the plan itself. Another important benefit of the process is the participation of executives of various hierarchical levels. Their engagement enhances the increased usage of the process and the effectiveness in decision making. Therefore, future researchers can examine how their participation in the process can be increased.
A drawback of this paper emerges from the fact that only one sector of business in Greece was studied. Future researchers may analyze the findings of this research and compare them with those of large corporations operating in other countries. Another limitation of this paper is that data collected from Greek SMEs were limited so authors cannot generalize the findings of this paper in other sectors. Thus, future researchers could collect more data and conduct this survey in other sectors and compare the results with those of this article. Obviously, for future studies, several procedures for data analysis should be made use of by researchers, such as validity analysis and cluster analysis used to compare the dissimilarities in SISP application amongst companies of different industries.