Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

WEB2SME — Result In Brief

Project ID: 232125
Funded under: FP7-SME

All systems go for SME exports

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often find exporting challenging because they lack the computer systems to manage product and customer services abroad. An EU-backed project has come up with an innovative and cost-effective solution for this.
All systems go for SME exports
Many SMEs in Europe find it difficult to provide their goods and services to customers in other countries. This is often because they lack the necessary system software designed for their needs and available at prices they can afford.

These deficiencies are particularly acute when it comes to product extension services (PESs), such as condition-based maintenance, problem solving and equipment reconfiguration services. For such PESs to serve the cross-border needs of European SMEs, they must seamlessly link up the players in the supply chain to enable efficient and cost-effective collaboration and delivery.

With EU funding, the 'Web 2.0 driven service-builder for product extension in globally-acting SMEs' (WEB2SME) project aimed to deliver just that. The two-year project brought together a consortium of two research institutes, three SMEs specialising in information and communication technologies (ICT), and three user SMEs. Together they developed innovative and comprehensive PESs system software solutions targeted at smaller enterprises.

Based on Web 2.0 principles, the developed system tackles both the technological and organisational aspects of product extensions and knowledge sharing. The components of the WEB2SME system include innovative knowledge-sharing modules that can be combined with existing tools, interfaces with legacy middleware systems, and a set of service engineering tools.

The three demonstrators rolled out at the three user SMEs proved the potential of the WEB2SME system. These solutions will enable industrial SMEs to strengthen their global competitiveness by enhancing their ability to develop new products, access new markets, and provide product and customer support services efficiently and cost effectively. The results will also enable SMEs specialising in software development to enter this promising niche area.

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