Drivers of information technology use in the supply chain

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




Nath, T., & Standing, C. (2010). Drivers of information technology use in the supply chain. Journal of Systems and Information Technology, 12(1), 70-84. Available here


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the drivers of information technology (IT) use in the supply chain. Given that the use of IT in the supply chain has been a popular topic of research it is timely to analyse the literature to identify patterns and key factors for success. Design/methodology/approach – A grounded theory approach is used to build a conceptual model using peer-reviewed journal articles. The selection criteria are derived from the literature review and these are used to extract suitable articles from the online databases. The term ‘‘supply chain’’ is used with all the selection key words to make the search more specific and relevant to the expected search outcome. Findings – The drivers of IT use in the supply chain are related to three levels of complexity and organisational change. The first level (low) involves a less complex use of IT that is driven through a desire to reduce costs. The drivers are cost reduction, reduced lead and cycle times, increased operational capability and information quality improvement. The second level (medium) involves a medium level of complexity that is characterised by networking and collaboration. The drivers are better relationships and information accessibility. Level two requires the drivers for level one. The most complex level is aimed at organisational transformation. The drivers are market sharing expansion, risk sharing and reduction, high quality service and better decision making. Level three also requires the drivers for levels one and two. Research limitations/implications – The study identified that many organisations use IT in the supply chain (SC) without understanding the drivers of IT use and this impacted on their success. In addition, it found that drivers can be classified into a hierarchy of benefits. Practical implications – A lack of understanding of the drivers of IT use in the SC can be overcome by using the list of specific drivers and how these relate to organisational change. The manager’s increased understanding of these factors should improve the success rate of IT investment in the SC by being more aware of how requirements relate to benefits and improvement. Originality/value – The study is the first of its kind to analyse a large number of research articles to determine the drivers of IT use in the supply chain.





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