Digitisation of SMEs is an important and great challenge: from various evidence it is clear that SMEs are hesitant when it comes to adopting new technologies. Despite market volume or business growth opportunities, most SMEs keep lagging behind. And that is not going to help them on the long term.
Cyber-risks are threatening business continuity. Companies using large amounts of data and the Internet of Things will manage to produce higher quality services or products at lower costs and push non-digital SMEs out of the market.
European SMEs run the risk to miss out on the huge market potential. They are lacking the necessary skills and access to highly skilled graduates and experienced workers: there a fierce and increasing competition for talent.
Research shows that already more than 90% of European SMEs consider themselves lagging behind in digital innovation. The European Commission - Directorate-General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs - launched an initiative on “Skills for SMEs” to analyse the root-causes and remedy to this situation.
One element stands out: SMEs are increasingly under pressure as they compete with large companies on a tense job market. Significant skills related issues exist across company roles: there is a lack of digital leadership skills at the top, a shortage of IT professionals and severe lack of adequate skills amongst users.
Skills shortages, gaps and mismatches hinder organisations to define their growth strategy, to implement it, and to enable employees to actually use new technologies.
Ambitious skills policies and well-targeted supporting measures at EU and national levels are thus needed to facilitate the access of SMEs to a larger European talent pool.
Contracted by the European Commission to support the “Skills for SMEs” initiative, Capgemini Invent together with the DIGITAL SME Alliance and Technopolis researched, identified, designed, tested and validated such specific measures for supporting specialised skills development related to big data, Internet of Things and cybersecurity for SMEs in Europe.
The study received contributions from the Irish tech community, including the Irish Computer Society, Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and Skillnet Ireland.