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e-Locus: For a Larger Integration of the Individual at Workplace

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Understanding tomorrow for SMEs of today

One of the most significant business sectors is that of the Small Medium Enterprises (SME). Their contribution towards the GDP and stability is huge and as such, developing enterprises that ensure their continued growth and success is more than just vital, it's absolutely imperative.

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The diverse nature of services, their personalised structures, their unique hierarchies and their vast differences in operational standards, makes it enormously difficult for any one business solution package to uniformly address the various needs of SMEs. Yet modern business solutions are required as SMEs can no longer afford to ignore the significant impact of technologies on the manner in which business is conducted and in which they are run. Specifically, this relates to their impact on production, sales and administrative tasks. In order to understand the future potential developments that SMEs would require, a consortium of nine European interests undertook the e-Locus project. Its aim was to assess the type of impact both future, charted and unexpected developments would have on the business arena. However, within the rapidly expanding information age, SMEs will be forced to adapt, both in a swift and effective manner. This change mirrors the greater tendency of information adapting the manner in which business, locally and globally is being conducted. The e-Locus project focused on assessing the manner in which SMEs could best accommodate rapid adaptation of business methods in order to maximize performance at minimal costs. Their research indicated that the evolving environment is no longer characterised by segmented areas of office/factory/market but is in fact, one continuous whole. Thus, part of their focus was set on the better adaptation of people at work with the intention to define and design the context of the "New Working Environment". In relation to this new working environment, their study puts forwards several interesting conclusions. It highlighted the need for SMEs to be adaptive and innovative. As such, the tools that they use need to be adaptive and innovative too. More importantly, because the marketplace is characterised by rapid evolution, it highlights the need for "what if" interrogations rather than solution based scenarios thus providing more comprehensive, useful coverage. Finally, while the study pointed out that the surge of information and knowledge has and continues to shape the future, the constructs of that future remain unknown. As such, the study contributes vital reasoning for adaptive and flexible design and development of business tools, strategies and management.

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