Process is Key to Small IT Business Customer Satisfaction

Release Date: January 14, 2013 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – Small information technology (IT) businesses that follow formal processes are more productive and achieve higher quality and customer satisfaction, according to a study from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Published in Communications of the ACM, the study found that smaller IT companies saw more benefit from formal processes than their larger competitors.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. IT industry, accounting for approximately 80 percent of IT jobs in the country,” explains study co-author Rajiv Kishore, PhD, associate professor of management science and systems in the UB School of Management. “With greater competition and more demanding customers, small IT providers must now prove they can deliver high-quality products and services in a timely and predictable manner.”

The research looked at both large and smaller companies that use the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)—a tool that helps improve the business processes of IT service providers.

In the past, smaller organizations have been wary of such productivity models, feeling the processes can be too time consuming or a barrier to productivity and office culture. But Kishore says there are ways to reap the benefits of formal process capability without sacrificing an entrepreneurial or less formal culture.

“Small firms should tailor CMM to their own environment and stress a process focused on flexibility, efficiency and quality,” he says. “Evidence suggests that small firms that use it can see improvements with productivity, quality and customer satisfaction.”

Kishore, who is an associate editor at Information and Management, a leading information systems journal, collaborated on the study with Matthew Swinarski, associate professor of MIS and Diane Parente, Breene Professor of Management, both from the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Kevin Manne
Associate Director of Communications
School of Management