EBusiness Guide for SMEs

Today it is clearer than ever that information and communication technology (ICT) and eBusiness models are the most important drivers of innovation and competitiveness. ICT has revolutionised the way business is done and it will continue to do so in the future. But ICT can only lead to substantial productivity gains when accompanied by organisational changes: innovative eBusiness models and investment in skills.

Unfortunately, the potential of ICT-enabled innovation and new business models is still underexploited by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. SMEs are a major source of entrepreneurial skills and creativity and contribute to economic and social cohesion. They hold the key to innovation and are also emerging as global players, by participating in worldwide production and supply chains. It is obvious that in the challenging race for competitiveness and excellence, where new technologies and innovation play a central role, European SMEs cannot afford to lag behind.

That is why SMEs have been placed high on the Lisbon reform agenda. The goal is to unlock the growth and jobs potential of SMEs by making full use of their in inovative capacity. In this context, the European Commission, in collaboration with SMEs and their representatives, is drawing up a „Small Business Act“ for Europe, to help SMEs succeed in our increasingly globalised world, including through the improved integration and innovative use of ICT.

Around the world, governments have increasingly sought to promote ICT and eBusiness models as a way of enhancing the competitiveness of their SMEs. The European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General is also aiming to reinforce the coordination among EU Member States and improve the effectiveness of public SME policies promoting the innovative use of ICT and the exchange of good practices, through the establishment of the eBusiness Support Network for SMEs (eBSN), ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e-bsn/index_en.html.

European SMEs tell us that they need readily available, affordable and user-friendly eBusiness solutions and services specifically tailored to their situation, so improving the availability of such solutions is among the key policy priorities that eBSN has set itself. But SMEs also need to know how to keep up with developments make informed decisions when selecting and introducing eBusiness solutions. In a world of continuous technological progress, this is a growing challenge for European SMEs.

In response, the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, in the framework of the eBSN, commissioned the development of the eBSN eBusiness Solutions Guide for SMEs, an intelligent online tool to diagnose an enterprise’s needs and competences and propose a range of appropriate eBusiness solutions and service providers. The eBSN eBusiness Solutions Guide for SMEs is one of the actions foreseen under the umbrella of the Small Business Act for Europe and provides effective support to SMEs and their advisers as they seek to exploit ICT in their businesses. The publicly accessible, web-based application is available in English, French and German and is currently being translated into all other EU languages (ec.europa.eu/enterprise/e-bsn/).

Our ambition is to offer the European SMEs a complete, independent and practical eBusiness guide, which fairly represents the European ICT supply market and which will prove to be of great help as they explore the myriad opportunities for innovation through ICT and eBusiness.

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