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Downloads - empirica

e-Business in the chemical, rubber and plastics industryas possible contributions and instruments to address the specified objectives. At thesame time, they express a concern that some of the central policy documents may notadequately reflect the importance of ICT for industrial competitiveness in general and theclose links between innovation and ICT usage in particular.6.2.2 Policy suggestionsAgainst these general considerations, the study findings suggest four priority areas forpolicy measures to further support ICT-enabled innovation. Except for the last point (ICTand REACH), these areas are more horizontal than sector-specific, which is in line withthe Commission's commitment "… to the horizontal nature of industrial policy and to avoida return to selective interventionist policies." 176 All suggestions should be considered aspart of a general industrial policy in which innovation plays a central role. Innovation(notably organisational and process innovation) and ICT usage in firms are inseparablylinked with each other, as this study shows; therefore, any specific measures to create afavourable framework for ICT adoption should ideally be embedded in a larger innovationpolicy framework.The study proposes four lines of possible action to enhance and exploit ICT-driveninnovation potential in the CRP industries:e-Business skills in SMEs: strengthening the e-skills base in the sector bysupporting the managerial understanding of e-business among smaller companies.e-Business skills for large firms: ensuring the supply of ICT and e-businessprofessionals by establishing innovative educational schemes.Removing legal uncertainty and risks: focus on further harmonising theregulatory framework for e-business in Europe – particularly considering issues incross-border trading and payments.Enhance specific ICT opportunities for process efficiency: exploreopportunities to facilitate REACH compliance by use of ICT.The following section explains the rationale for these proposed action lines, indicatespossible activities that could be considered and identifies the key stakeholders that needto get involved.e-Skills related actions (I): improving the managerial understanding of e-business among smaller companiesThe study confirms that there is still a "digital divide" between large and small companiesin e-business practices, notably when it comes to advanced forms of data exchange (seeevidence in Sections 3.2-3.5). This hampers the network effect of e-business andreduces the potential of productivity gains on the aggregate (industry) level. Case studiesdemonstrate that, in smaller companies, the understanding and commitment of themanagement is a critical factor for introducing ICT-based innovation in the firm. Thisindicates that a key leverage to accelerate sector wide e-business adoption is to targetowners and managers of smaller companies.176 COM(2005) 474 final, p. 3202

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