Pocketbook of e-Business Indicators - empirica

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Pocketbook of e-Business Indicators - empirica

SummarySummaryAlignment among manufacturing industriesAmong many of the non-ICT manufacturing industries, thepattern of sectoral e-business evolution has been similar.Large companies drive the development, with supply-chainintegration as a key objective. The 'digital divide' betweenthe large players and the small companies is very pronouncedin these industries. Examples from the sectors studied in2006 are the food & beverages, the pulp & paper and theshipbuilding industry.In the footwear industry, ICT and e-business are generallyused much less than in the other manufacturing industries.The sector is dominated by mostly small craft and tradecompanies, most of whom do not see ICT as a usefulinstrument to enhance their business.e-Business and SMEsResults of the previous e-Business Survey (2005) pointed at apronounced gap in e-business adoption between the smallfirms (with up to 49 employees) and the medium-sized ones(50-249 employees). For the 10 sectors studied in 2006, thepicture appears to be slightly different – it shows large firmsclearly leading the way (see exhibit). The difference has to dowith the selection of sectors on which the benchmarking isbased, and on the choice of component indicators.e-Business Scoreboard 2006 (for size-bands, EU-10)ICT trends in constructionTo some extent, this also applies to many of the small companiesin the construction industry; however, results for this sectorhave to be interpreted with caution. The survey questionnairewas mainly adapted to ICT use in manufacturing industriesand, possibly does not fully reflect some emerging trends inconstruction. Technologies such as project web and 3Dvisualisation tools carry significant economic potential for theindustry (see p. 58).Tourisme-Tourism has evolved dynamically over the past 5 years.A major impact is that ICT enables service providers to interactdirectly with customers, which puts enormous pressure ontraditional intermediaries such as travel agencies and touroperators. The extent to which intermediaries are bypasseddiffers considerably between sub-sectors. The accommodationsector, for example, is only partially affected by dis-intermediation;specific branches of the transport sector, however, tendto be strongly affected.HospitalsAlmost all European hospitals surveyed have at least anelectronic system for patient data and financial administration.However, only few of them use more sophisticated systems,and departmental information systems are often not integratedwith each other. Important drivers of e-business implementationare cost containment, improvement of the quality of healthcare, and state regulations. Barriers to ICT investment includemanagement deficiencies, a lack of interoperable and widelyused standards, and security challenges.For more information about the Scoreboard, see p. 45 and p. 79. The componentindicators for size-bands are based on aggregated data from the 10 sectorsstudied in 2006 (in 10 EU countries).From this evidence it could be concluded that ICT tends toincrease existing economies of scale, as large firms can affordmore powerful ICT systems at proportionally lower cost thanSMEs.However, it is debatable whether small companies really needthe same powerful solutions as large firms in order to derivean equivalent benefit. SMEs have profited enormously fromthe internet, for example, simply by getting access to marketinformation at low cost. This has decreased the competitivedisadvantage they used to suffer against larger companies.Furthermore, recent activities of the large software providersare increasingly focused on the SME clientele; they developnew and flexible solutions adapted to the needs of smallercompanies. This could enhance ICT adoption among these firms.8 9

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