Business Models and Innovative Technologies for SMEs

Understanding the Affordances of Expert Systems in Improving the Competitiveness of South African Insurance SMEs

Author(s): Stevens P. Mamorobela * .

Pp: 85-106 (22)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815196719123010007

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)

Abstract

Small and Medium Enterprises in the insurance industry of South Africa are increasingly seeking new ways to improve competitiveness. Recently, technologies like expert systems are evolving to provide new knowledge to enable organizations to deliver insurance services more effectively and efficiently. However, little information is presented in the studies of business model innovation about the affordances of expert systems in improving the competitiveness of the Small and Medium Enterprises in the insurance industry. Based on the literature review of the Resource-based view model, this chapter develops a model of the affordances of expert systems to guide Small and Medium Enterprises in the insurance industry in their effort to improve competitiveness. An explanatory mixed-method research approach was followed to collect relevant data using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to understand the affordances of expert systems in Small and Medium Enterprises in the insurance industry. The results of the study indicate that competitiveness can be improved if the Small and Medium Enterprises manage the expert system in five areas: (i) as a valuable resource; (ii) as a rare resource; (iii) as an inimitable resource; (iv) as a unique organizational resource; and (v) as a low-cost resource. Since the concept of business model innovation is centered on resources that generate value, this study has implications for theory and practice in the field of business model innovation, particularly in the Small and Medium Enterprises operating in the insurance industry.


Keywords: Business model innovation, Competitiveness, Competencies, Expert system, Insurance, Knowledge development, Resource-based view, Small and eedium enterprises, South africa, Valuable resources.

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