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Kavrakos

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Business-Finance

Published on January 15, 2009

Author: aSGuest10698

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4th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and TrainingITHET03 July 7-9, 2003, Marrakech, MOROCCO : 4th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and TrainingITHET03 July 7-9, 2003, Marrakech, MOROCCO The Regional Development Agencies and the use of new technologies in their training programs for Small and Medium scale Enterprises Miltiades Kavrakos Dr. Mechanical Engineer, Director DEFINITIONS : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 2 DEFINITIONS “Regional Development Agency (RDA)* is any organization having: a) a mission of economic development encompassing the global economic interest of a geographical zone, b) significant ties with a local authority as much from the point of view of its financing or from its objectives, c) a sufficiently important and relevant program geographical working area” *[EURADA - European Association of Development Agencies ]   A variety of services are offered by RDA to SMEs like   Consulting, technology transfer and innovation support, regional marketing, retrieval of financing resources. Training International Cooperation MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS THE HELLENIC EXPERIENCE - METHODOLOGY : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 3 THE HELLENIC EXPERIENCE - METHODOLOGY The Hellenic experience shows that the support activities of the RDAs must focus on the development of e-training applications customized for groups of entrepreneurs with NONE previous experience on something similar. This is a methodology that addresses the learning needs of individual business people and support e-business and e-learning networks. Two RDAs in the region of Athens participated in two international projects, co-financed by European Union and carried out a series of prototype outcomes. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 4 EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE The first example comes from the Association for the Development of Western Athens, a local authority organization that represented nine (9) municipalities and supports Western Athens SMEs. During 1997-1998 carried out a project named ASTRAbis/SME@ICTnet which was financed by the community initiative ADAPT (an initiative of Commission European Communities - Direction General V). 400 and more SME's located at Western Athens were trained in their facilities and developed prototype Internet Business Plans and e-commerce applications, without having any previous experience on something relevant. The second example comes from the Municipal Enterprise for the Development of Voula, a local authority organization too, that supports South Athens SMEs. This RDA of Voula participates to the focus group of USHER project (Unified Support and Help for E-commerce enterprise through assisting RDAs). It is funded by Commission European Communities- Information Society Technology Programe – Key Action II – New Ways of work and Electronic Commerce). USHER creates a regional development e-commerce delivery strategy and an advisor package including materials for support business counseling and training MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS SMEs NEEDS ANALYSIS : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 5 SMEs NEEDS ANALYSIS The main reasons why SMEs do not spent money and time for training to benefit from the lowering of entry barriers to e-business are:   They have a vision tightly focused on the short term and issues such as profit, tax, competition and regulations because they want (first of all) their business to survive They do not focus on developing a strategic view of their business. They do not easily recognize the opportunities available through the World Wide Web or Information Communication Technologies. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS SMEs AND TRAINING : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 6 SMEs AND TRAINING SMEs face various challenges when contemplating training implementation. Skills. The lack of suitable technical and managerial staff with sufficient Information Communication Technologies expertise is major barrier. SMEs critically depend on “on-the-job-competence”. Availability of skilled labor. Bringing in outside expertise is costly. Availability of staff training. There are a large number of companies providing training. The availability of general training is less of a problem nowadays, but specialized training on specific software packages and advanced level courses can be more difficult to find. Staff training plans. Many SMEs participate in training activities not familiar to them. Companies need to prepare detailed training plans for their staff. Training and Retaining. Many SMEs do not put effort into training their staff because they fear that once trained and qualified the individual may leave the company to work for a larger organization.. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS RDAs and SMEs : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 7 RDAs and SMEs The services offered by RDA to SMEs are similar to Business to Costumer services. A customer service strategy depends on the size of the company and on the type and variety of products and services offered. Also it depends on the type of its customers and on the after sales service and support that is offered and generally on the level of service that company intends to apply.   Business to Costumer companies requires an infrastructure for e-mail queries, online ordering and telephone support. The Web site should also offer detailed information about product & service description, technical manuals, articles and other information that could help the customer to understand better the way the company works and the products/services offered As the e-business is expanding more customers are keep coming, more automation in customer service processes should be introduced. Among other this automation may include: EMS (E-mail Management Systems), automatic knowledge collection/update and call centres through the Internet or the regular telephone network. The possibility of using multimedia for communication with the customers should be considered, making this way the communication more productive and attractive. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS FIRST EXAMPLE OF GOOD PRACTICE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 8 FIRST EXAMPLE OF GOOD PRACTICE Association for the Development of Western Athens has approached local SME's by two ways   It has provided free access to its Internet Services only to the micro and medium enterprises of the area, which wanted to expand their activities to new electronic markets.   It has sent a wide, analytical questionnaire to SME's willing to corporate, which had been completed by 121 companies MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS ATHENS SMEs - SAMPLE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 9 ATHENS SMEs - SAMPLE MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS TRAINING PROGRAMS – NEW TECHNOLOGIES-NEW METHODOLOGY OF DELIVERY : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 10 TRAINING PROGRAMS – NEW TECHNOLOGIES-NEW METHODOLOGY OF DELIVERY First action of the project ASTRAbis/SME@ICTnet was the training of the trainers who trained, in return, the SMEs’ personnel on the use of the Internet. The trainers had been assigned twenty (20) local companies each. Appointments had been fixed, with the aim to examine the possible interest in being connected to the local Internet service Provider - Association for the Development of Western Athens. Also it was examined their interest in the training of their personnel in the use of Internet.   A relative training package was made. SMEs were able to discover opportunities and were self-trained according to their own free time. The companies exhibited a keen interest for the application of the training package for their staff and for their connection to INTERNET through the Association for the Development of Western Athens node. The trainers met the heads of each company and by using portable laptops, connected to INTERNET, informed about RDA, the ASTRAbis/SME@ICTnet program and the benefits of Internet. The meetings lasted about 2 hours. The trainers gave to all enterprises the educational material (CD-ROM) . MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS The Training Package : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 11 The Training Package Technical Prerequisites The application was only viewed with Internet Explorer 4.x. which was included in the CD-ROM MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS INTERNET BUSINESS USE SEMINAR : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 12 INTERNET BUSINESS USE SEMINAR MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 13 USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE USHER addresses the learning needs of individual business advisors and support to facilitate their transformation into e-business advisors.   This is an important issue for USHER, the development of an attractive array of tools and information resources – the USHER Toolkit. Two parts compose the Toolkit: the Information Manager and the Checklist Engine. Information Manager provide a set of assertions of abstracts from books, websites, and other kind of documents in order to release the business advisors from having to read a lot of different sources. The assertions can be searched using one or more keywords connected easily with Boolean Operators (AND; OR; AND NOT). For every question a closed set of answers is provided and the next question depends on the previously chosen answer. The Checklist Engine is the most flexible part of the toolkit. A score checklist is composed of a set of questions to which the user has to answer by choosing from a closed set of possible answers; for each answer points are assigned. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 14 USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 15 USHER EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTISE MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS RDAs NETWORKS WITH BUSINESS ADVISORS : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 16 RDAs NETWORKS WITH BUSINESS ADVISORS The relationship between RDAs and their business varies from region to region. The message however, in very much the same; there is a lot of work to be done by RDAs in terms of supporting the development of their business advisors with information, knowledge, and learning tools. Support should also involve the establishment of better links between RDAs, advisors and the local business community. The delivery of RDA’s strategy and services to business advisors and local SMEs at the study area of West Athens and Voula (with more than 14.000 SMEs) composed by : The use of common RDA’s services delivered personally to each beneficiary (Internet training, investments on electronic commerce, www marketing, integrated information exchange etc) New jobs profile definition Creation and maintenance of prototype databases using statistically elaborated and cross-verified data, accessible under special agreement between advisors and RDAs. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS CONCLUSIONS : MILTIADES KAVRAKOS 17 CONCLUSIONS To explore the chances to use the Internet as a training tool leads to enhance the mobility and flexibility of the workforce and develop the concept of lifelong training. Although many SMEs do take the initial plunge to put up for free Internet based e-male, the decision to fully integrate e-learning technologies is a difficult one.   E-business adoption is closely linked to the SMEs perception of the importance of the Internet and how it might impact on their business. The barriers inhibiting e-business adoption among SMEs are consistent, regardless of SME level of e-business development.   The impact of business support policies is largely dependent on the effectiveness of RDAs working at grass root level and within the framework of European policy, which is designed to enhance the competitiveness of small businesses through Information Communication Technologies in general and e-Business in particular.   The present examples show the way. Over 1000 SME's are now connected with Web servers of two Athens RDAs and use the ASTRAbis/SME@ICTnet training package and -lately- the USHER toolkit. MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOULA, HELLAS

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