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An SME Support System for Planning and Reporting about Information Technology

Objective

The overall aim of SMESPRIT was to investigate multiple aspects of the feasibility and implementation approaches for an integrated computer-based system for supporting IT planning in SMEs in Europe. The work would support the identified and growing need for European SMEs to make effective use of information systems in their efforts to maintain competitiveness and sustain growth.
Multiple aspects of the feasibility and implementation approaches for an integrated computer based system for supporting information technology (IT) planning in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe have been investigated. The work supports the identified and growing need for European SMEs to make effective use of information systems in their efforts to maintain competitiveness and sustain growth.

The potential benefits of IT within large organizations are well appreciated, but the appropriate approach for smaller and less sophisticated organizations are less clear. The opportunity for such organizations to make use of IT depends on the quality of the advice they receive and the appropriateness of the delivery channels.

The action was organized around 3 major activities:
a review of the current state of the art, including consideration of practice, literature and software in this area as well as an examination of IT strategies within the SME sector;
preliminary development studies that covered the establishment of user profiles, identification of target sectors, selection of knowledge acquisition strategy and specification of the knowledge transfer policy;
implementation experiments that consisted of preparatory knowledge acquisition, a knowledge representation study, analysis of user interface issues and initial preprototype experiments.

The results included a review of IT planning in the context of SMEs and the establishment of user needs; an investigation into the nature of the knowledge in the domain; and preliminary software. These results are intended to be of value both in direct product development terms and in developing the debate on the appropriate way to introduce IT into SMEs. The action participants comprised European systems companies with interests in knowledge based applications, IT consultants, a management association and a university. Through this action the participants were able to focus the interests of institutions and organizations servicing the IT needs of SMEs and to gain their input and commitment. The action provided recommendations for future development projects and research directions.
The potential benefits of IT within large organisations are well appreciated, but the appropriate approach for smaller and less sophisticated organisations are less clear. The opportunity for such organisations to make use of IT depends on the quality of the advice they receive and the appropriateness of the delivery channels.

The action was organised around three major activities:

- a review of the current state of the art, including consideration of practice, literature and software in this area as well as an examination of IT strategies within the SME sector
- preliminary development studies that covered the establishment of user profiles, identification of target sectors, selection of knowledge acquisition strategy and specification of the knowledge transfer policy
- implementation experiments that consisted of preparatory knowledge acquisition, a knowledge representation study, analysis of user interface issues and initial pre-prototype experiments.

The results of the action included a review of IT planning in the context of SMEs and the establishment of user needs; an investigation into the nature of the knowledge in the domain; and preliminary software. These results are intended to be of value both in direct product development terms and in developing the debate on the appropriate way to introduce IT into SMEs.

The action participants comprised European systems companies with interests in knowledge-based applications, IT consultants, a management association and a university. Through this action the participants would be able to focus the interests of institutions and organisations servicing the IT needs of SMEs and to gain their input and commitment. The action provided recommendations for future development projects and research directions.

Coordinator

ALGOSYSTEMS
Address
Sygrou Avenue, 183, 76104
17121 Athenes
Greece

Participants (5)

ADDAX
Greece
Address
Orminiou Street, 38
11528 Athenes
Delphi SpA
Italy
Address
Via Della Vetraia 11
55049 Viareggio Lucca
EXPERTEAM
France
Address
89 Rue Des Entrepreneurs
75015 Paris
HELLENIC MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
Greece
Address
L. Amalias Street, 36
10558 Athenes
LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
United Kingdom
Address
Houghton Street
London