Understanding the information systems infrastructure of engineering SMEs

B. J. Hicks*, S. J. Culley, C. A. McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


It is widely accepted that information is critical for the operation and commercial success of any organisation. For engineering SMEs, which are highly dependent upon the effective management of information and knowledge to gain competitive advantage, this is a particularly important issue. One of the critical components for improving information management within an organisation is the development and implementation of an integrated information systems infrastructure. This is an infrastructure which supports not only the business processes but also the activities of design and manufacture, and can considerably improve the responsiveness of the organisation and also significantly reduce internal waste. However, the creation of an integrated infrastructure is rarely achieved. This is generally because of a lack of understanding of the functional requirements of the organisation and the relationships between the various elements of the infrastructure. To address these issues, this paper presents the results of an in depth study of the information systems infrastructure of ten engineering SMEs. From this study, a generalised model of the functional elements of the infrastructure is developed. This provides a unique reference model against which SMEs can compare and contrast their current infrastructure, and elicit the understanding necessary to develop and plan a more integrated infrastructure to better support the organisation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings ICED 05, the 15th International Conference on Engineering Design
VolumeDS 35
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Event15th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 05 - Melbourne, VIC, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Aug 200518 Aug 2005


Conference15th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 05
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityMelbourne, VIC


  • Communication
  • Design information
  • Information management
  • Manufacturing information
  • Software


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