Cloud Computing Adoption in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Systematic Literature Review and Directions for Future Research

  • Olakunle Jayeola School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia; Faculty of Administration and Management Sciences, Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria
  • Shafie Sidek School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Azmawani Abd Rahman School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Anuar Shah Bali Mahomed School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Jimin Hu School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia; Faculty of Foreign Languages, Ghanzhou Teachers College, China
Keywords: Cloud Computing, Systematic Literature Review, Adoption, SMEs


This paper presents a systematic literature review of the current state of cloud computing adoption (CC) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the main objective of providing insights into data analysis techniques, CC services being investigated, and further assessing studies and their associated theories/frameworks, publication trends and outlets, geographical distribution and the most important adoption factors over 10 years (2011-2020). Six databases were consulted for a total of 76 articles. The findings indicate that Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) and interpretative analysis were the most frequently used quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques. Generic CC services were investigated more than specific CC business applications. The number of publications has fluctuated over the last decade, and the vast majority did not incorporate any underlying theory. The Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development and IEEE conferences proceedings were major publication outlets. Asia recorded the highest number of studies, whereas cost savings is the most important adoption factor. This study contributes to CC research by providing deeper insights into data analysis techniques used, CC services investigated, and other crucial research issues of CC adoption in SMEs to guide future research directions and SMEs' cloud computing implementation.


Abatecola, G., Mandarelli, G., & Poggesi, S. (2013). The personality factor: how top management teams make decisions: a literature review. Journal of Management and Governance, 17(4), 1073-1100.

Adam, I. O., & Musah, A. (2015). Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Cloud in Developing Countries: A Synthesis of the Literature and Future Research Directions. Journal of Management and Sustainability, 5(1), 115-139

Ajimoko, O. J. (2018). Considerations for the adoption of cloud-based big data analytics in small business enterprises. Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 21, 63-79.

Alkwasi, G. A., Mahmood, A. K., & Baashar, Y. M. (2015). Factors influencing the adoption of cloud computing in SME: A systematic review. 2015 Proceedings of the International Symposium on Mathematical Sciences and Computing Research 2015, (iSMSC), 220-225.

Alshamaila, Y., Papagiannidis, S., & Li, F. (2013). Cloud computing adoption by SMEs in the north east of England: A multi-perspective framework. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 26(3), 250-275.

Aquilani, B., Silvestri, C., Ruggieri, A., & Gatti, C. (2017). A systematic literature review on total quality management critical success factors and the identification of new avenues of research. The TQM Journal, 29(1), 184-213.

Bhattacherjee, A., & Park, S. C. (2014). Why end-users move to the cloud: A migration- theoretic analysis. European Journal of Information Systems, 23(3), 357-372.

Bruque-Cámara, S., Moyano-Fuentes, J., & Maqueira-Marín, J. M. (2016). Supply chain integration through community cloud: Effects on operational performance. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 22(2), 141-153.

Buyya, R., Buyya, R., Yeo, C. S., Yeo, C. S., Venugopal, S., Venugopal, S., & Brandic, I. (2009). Cloud computing and emerging IT platforms: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering computing as the 5th utility. Future Generation Computer Systems, 25, 599-616.

Das, R. K., Patnaik, S., & Misro, A. K. (2011). Adoption of cloud computing in e-governance. Advanced Computing, 161-172.

Habahbeh, A., Fadiya, S. O., & Akkaya, M. (2018). Factors influencing SMEs cloud ERP adoption: A test with generalized linear model and artificial neural network. Data in Brief, 20, 969-977.

Hair, J. F. (2014). A primer on partial least squares structural equations modeling (PLS-SEM). Los Angeles: Sage.

Hossain, M. A., & Quaddus, M. (2011). The adoption and continued usage intention of RFID: an integrated framework. Information Technology & People, 24(3), 236-256.

Jäger, J., Schöllhammer, O., Lickefett, M., & Bauernhansl, T. (2016). Advanced complexity management strategic recommendations of handling the "industrie 4.0" complexity for small and medium enterprises. Procedia CIRP, 57, 116-121.

Jayeola, O., & Sidek, S. (2019). Factors of cloud computing adoption by SMEs. A review. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Business, Accounting, Finance and Economics, BAFE 2019, (October 2019), 203-213.

Jayeola, O., Sidek, S., Rahman, A. A., Mahomed, A. S. B., & Jimin, H. (2020). Contextual factors and strategic consequences of cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) Adoption in Malaysian Manufacturing SMEs: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Economics and Business Administration, 8(3), 176-201.

Khajeh-Hosseini, A., Greenwood, D., Smith, J. W., & Sommerville, I. (2012). The Cloud Adoption Toolkit: Supporting cloud adoption decisions in the enterprise. Software - Practice and Experience, 42(4), 447-465.

Khamis, H., & Mohd, Z. (2016). Exploring the challenge impacted SMEs to adopt cloud ERP. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 9(45), 75-88.

Khayer, A., Talukder, M. S., Bao, Y., & Hossain, M. N. (2020). Cloud computing adoption and its impact on SMEs' performance for cloud supported operations: A dual-stage analytical approach. Technology in Society, 60(1): 101225.

Kihara, T., & Gichoya, D. (2013). Adoption and use of cloud computing in small and medium enterprises in Kenya. 2013 IST-Africa Conference and Exhibition, IST-Africa 2013, 1-12.

Korongo, J. N., Samoei, D. K., & Gichoya, D. M. (2013). Cloud computing: An emerging trend for small and medium enterprises. 2013 IST-Africa Conference and Exhibition, IST-Africa 2013, 1-7.

Mell, P., & Grance, T. (2011). The NIST definition of cloud computing: Recommendations of standards and technology. NIST Special Publication, 800- 145. 1-7

Moeuf, A., Pellerin, R., Lamouri, S., Tamayo-Giraldo, S., & Barbaray, R. (2018). The industrial management of SMEs in the era of Industry 4.0. International Journal of Production Research, 56(3), 1118-1136.

Nowotarski, P., & Paslawski, J. (2017). Industry 4.0 concept introduction into construction SMEs. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 245(5).

Priyadarshinee, P., Jha, M. K., & Raut, R. (2014). Cloud computing adoption in SMEs: A literature review. Proceedings of the Twelfth AIMS International Conference on Management, 214-242.

Raut, R. D., Gardas, B. B., Jha, M. K., & Priyadarshinee, P. (2017). Examining the critical success factors of cloud computing adoption in the MSMEs by using ISM model. Journal of High Technology Management Research, 28(2),

Rekik, M., Boukadi, K., & Ben-Abdallah, H. (2019). An end-to-end system to enhance business process performance through new outsourcing to the cloud strategies. International Journal of Business and Systems Research, 13(1), 1-20.

Salleh, N. A., Hussin, H., Suhaimi, M. A., & Md Ali, A. (2018). A systematic literature review of cloud computing adoption and impacts among small medium enterprises (SMEs). Proceedings - International Conference on Information and Communication Technology for the Muslim World 2018, ICT4M 2018, 278-284.

Sandberg, B., & Aarikka-Stenroos, L. (2014). What makes it so difficult? A systematic review on barriers to radical innovation. Industrial Marketing Management, 43(8), 1293-1305.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2016). Research methods for business students. Seventh Edition. Pearson Education Limited.

Seethamraju, R. (2014). Adoption of SaaS Enterprise Systems - A Comparison of Indian and Australian SMEs. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions, 1, 179-184.

Senyo, P. K., Addae, E., & Boateng, R. (2018). Clod computing research: A review of research themes, frameworks, methods and future research directions. International Journal of Information Management, 38(1), 128-139.

Small Business Administration. (2018). Small business profile.

Stieninger, M., Nedbal, D., Wetzlinger, W., Wagner, G., & Erskine, M. A. (2018). Factors influencing the organizational adoption of cloud computing: a survey among cloud workers. International Journal of Information Systems and Project Management, 6(1), 5-23.

Tornatzky, L. G., & Fleischer, M. (1990). The Processing of Technological Innovation. Lexington Books.

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British Journal of Management, 14(3), 207-222.

Twum-Darko, M., & Sibanyoni, J. L. (2014). Role of cloud computing as technology innovation in small and medium enterprises in South Africa. Corporate Ownership and Control, 12(1CONT6), 557-571.

Vu, K., Hartley, K., & Kankanhalli, A. (2020). Predictors of cloud computing adoption: A cross-country study. Telematics and Informatics, 52, 101426.

Wangechi, Z. (2017). Cloud computing adoption and organization performance among small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in Nairobi County. (Master's Dissertation, University of Nairobi, Kenya).

Wu, W. W. (2011). Mining significant factors affecting the adoption of SaaS using the rough set approach. Journal of Systems and Software, 84(3), 435-441.

Xiao, Y., & Watson, M. (2019). Guidance on Conducting a Systematic Literature Review. In Journal of Planning Education and Research, 39(1), 93-112.

Yu, Y., Li, M., Li, X., Zhao, J. L., & Zhao, D. (2018). Effects of entrepreneurship and IT fashion on SMEs' transformation toward cloud service through mediation of trust. Information & Management, 55(2), 245-257.

How to Cite
Olakunle Jayeola, Shafie Sidek, Azmawani Abd Rahman, Anuar Shah Bali Mahomed, & Jimin Hu. (2022). Cloud Computing Adoption in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Systematic Literature Review and Directions for Future Research. International Journal of Business and Society, 23(1), 226-243.