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E-Skills and the Future of SME’s Marketing

02 agosto 2018 -
E-Skills and the Future of SME’s Marketing

Contributo selezionato da Filodiritto tra quelli pubblicati nei Proceedings “International Conference on Economics and Administration 2017”

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Contribution selected by Filodiritto among those published in the Proceedings “International Conference on Economics and Administration 2017”

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1. Introduction

2. ICT Competences and E-Skills Statistics

3. E-Skills in Marketing

4. E-skills and SME’s

5. Supporting E-skills training for SME’s development

6. Conclusions

 

 

Abstract

Businesses are more dependent upon information and communications technology (ICT) in daily activities. Business environment may face various changes, and regular training of the staff is a method through which SMEs may keep a competitive position on the market. This paper submits to the attention that countries with a high individuals’ level of digital skills tend to have better entrepreneurship environment, and vice versa.

 

1. Introduction

Information and communications technology (ICT) development had offered tremendous opportunities for various business processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), improving performance and economic results. ICT became a well-performed ally to overcome critical obstacles to economic growth such us geographic isolation, lack of competition and high prices for consumers, lack of information and low prices for producers, legal exclusion, political voice, social capital [1].

Still, in order for SMEs to promote innovative ideas and to develop market-oriented solutions, it is important to invest in skills. Nowadays, practically it is necessary for every citizen to be digitally literate in a lifelong learning context, in order to cope with the ICT progress [2].

The demand for ICT practitioners is increasing and will continue to increase in the next decade. ICT-related occupations offer several advantages such as: resistance to crises as compared to other jobs; presence in both ICT using industries and ICT sector itself; vast and varied employment opportunities [3].

ICT-related skills (e-skills) will be a core requirement for SMEs and large companies operating not only on an international basis, but also on national level. E-skills relates to “a broader categorization of ICT skills, other skills, knowledge and competences necessary for optimizing the use of ICT and working in a knowledge economy context” [4]. Finding well-trained workforce with good e-skills becomes a real challenge for companies. SMEs all over the world will find difficult to identify and attract e-competent professionals with skills in both information technology and business management [5].

The more complex business environment becomes, being necessary to deal with great amount of information, operating with various partners, and facing each day new and complex challenges, and being up-to-date in order to manage multi-stakeholder plans, more e-competent individuals are required, able to manage high level of information flows, and to link various functions within an organization.

The technological innovation and the up-growing demand for ICT activity put enormous pressure on e-skills practitioners and employees with relevant educational qualifications [2].

Still, the availability of ICT practitioners is insufficient as compared with the continuous growing demand for this type of workforce.

The present paper aims to analysis the e-skills challenges within the labor market. The second section investigate ICT skills at European level and their importance in supporting SME’s development. The third section aims to underline the required e-skills in the marketing and connected fields. The fourth section emphasizes the challenges of SMEs in the digital economy and the need for e-skilled workforce. Section fifth discusses the ways of supporting e-skills training for SMEs’ development. The last section concludes the paper.

 

2. ICT Competences and E-Skills Statistics

Statistics suggest that ICT is developing very fast and consequently e-skills are more and more important and need to be constantly updated [3].

In Europe, according to the latest data available (for 2011), the percent of individuals who have obtained ICT skills through formal educational institutions registered various values by countries. Thus, the smallest values are found in countries such as Italy (16.1% of individuals), Romania (16.9% of individuals), and Bulgaria (19.7% of individuals). Higher values are found for Slovakia (38.6%), Finland (38.7%), and Sweden (40%).

The demand for ICT skills is on upward slope, as the core ICT jobs register a growth trend of up to 4% p.a., and management jobs are up by as much as 8% p.a. and consequently it is necessary for the increase of the quality and relevance of e-skills [6]. Withal, new jobs profile appears such as Data and Cloud computing specialists which are not genuinely ICT jobs, but will be at a professional level (i.e. finance, marketing, or consulting), helping new business processes be defined and implemented.

Thus, e-Businesses, meaning activities of business that have support of ICT, are also developing in the European Union, following the trends which occurred in technology and society areas. An interesting indicator, which highlights the importance of e-Businesses, is the percentage of enterprises with high levels of digital intensity (meaning enterprises which use as many of a set of 12 technologies: usage of internet by a majority of the workers; access to ICT specialist skills; fixed broadband speed > 30 Mbps; mobile devices used by more than 20% of employed persons; has a website; has some sophisticated functions on the website; presence on social media; use an ERP – enterprise resource planning – software; use a customer relationship management (CRM) software; share electronically supply chain management information; does e-sales for at least 1% of turnover; exploit the B2C opportunities of web sales).

In 2015, the smallest values of digital intensity at EU level were found in countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania (11.4% of enterprises), and higher values (above 40%) in Netherlands (40.6%), and Denmark (46%). The numbers show that ICT is a powerful tool that can be used to solve SME’s various problems. It is important for managers to have the ability to support the integration of ICT in enterprises, which then can provide long-run benefits.

If ICT is used effectively, this can help in the business development process, and improvement of knowledge and skills of the employees.

In the 21st century job market, more transversal skills are required such as problem-solving, collaboration, critical-thinking, which are closely related to the transformation to the digital economy [7].



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