Against the background of the growing importance of IT to a firm’s overall success, the necessity to better understand the internal processes involved in the adoption of new technologies increases. This is especially relevant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who lag behind in the degree, speed, and success of IT adoption (“corporate digital divide”). However, in recent years, the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications paved the way for SMEs to overcome the financial and technological barriers that prevented them from the further adoption of sophisticated IT solutions and thus induce a paradigm change in their IT outsourcing behavior.
In this study, we focus on CEO’s strategic decision about the future adoption level of SaaS. We build on established main drivers of SaaS adoption and propose an extended framework that further includes generic strategic orientations as antecedents of these drivers. Drawing on arguments from strategic IT alignment, we propose that the SaaS adoption intention is determined by how much the perceived beliefs about SaaS fit the implemented business strategy.
The findings will help to understand what drives the decision of SaaS adoption in SMEs while accounting for the pivotal role of the CEO who is confronted with IT-business strategic alignment.