Kazimierz Wackowski, Michal Zebrowski,
Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw
Designing e-services for innovation management: an example
approach for polish IT market
IT market is one of the most innovative in Europe. In Poland, IT enterprises possess relative high innovation competences, in comparison with other sectors in country –
34,1% of IT enterprises introduced innovations in years 2006 – 2008, with the same
indicator equals 21,3% for all sectors . IT innovativeness in Poland doesn’t follow
competition increase abroad. One possible cause is low quality level of innovations, not enough for foreign and global markets.
New solutions from IT are foundations of knowledge based economy and become catalyst for organizational changes and innovations in different sectors. Most of IT enterprises in Poland (99,89%) are small and medium enterprises (SME-IT) . Despite limited opportunities for market expansion (financial, human resources and organizational barriers), SME-IT have a great potential and a chance of development. Their market share is also significant – with value of 50%. Analysis of available
bibliography leads us to a conclusion, that the complex research on SME-IT innovation is insufficient as regards needs of enterprises. Such research is purposeful, as SME-IT still have problems with innovation effectiveness and efficacy.
Global competition, as we can observe nowadays, needs continuous innovation development. Competition based on incremental improvements in cost or quality, should be enforced with innovations in new market space to ensure success . You could facilitate the process of new market space exploring and analysis by using supporting tools. In era of Internet, automated information services of web applications, have a great potential to support innovation activities. Such e-services in domain of innovations (pro-innovation e-services) are our proposal for SME-IT innovation development. Conceptual foundations for designing pro-innovation e-services are derived from systemic approach to innovation management.
2. Systemic approach to innovation management
The first important concept to define is the expected result of the innovation activity –
IT innovation. IT innovation is a conscious and purposeful introduction of newness in IT products or services offered, affecting the positive change in performance (in terms of praxeology) of an entity using IT product or service. IT innovation should bring benefits in a strategic time horizon to company adopting an innovation. Construction of IT innovation model includes:
; offered IT product,
; innovative change in IT product: a new aspect of existing product or a
totally/brand new product,
; business processes support services resulting from IT product adoption,
; impact of innovative change to performance grow of entity adopting an
A comprehensive approach to enterprise organization and management using conceptual modeling resulted in the discipline of enterprise engineering. Enterprise engineering is based on the following assumptions :
; enterprise may be treated as a system;
; a major aspect of an enterprise comprise of business processes;
; for enterprise transformation, engineering methods are used.
The role of abstraction and modeling is a major element in enterprise engineering. Enterprise engineering deals with the analysis, design, implementation and operation of an enterprise. Enterprise engineering with regard to innovation management, addresses design, construction, any decisions in this area and related methodological procedures, management functions in particular planning, control, monitoring, measurement and evaluation of the effects of innovations and innovation strategies [2, p. 21].
One of the approaches to systems analysis and modeling, proposed by S. Alter, is the work system theory and method . Given by S. Alter, the definition of work system, is as follows: the work system is a system in which human participants and/or machines perform work using information, technology, and other resources to produce products and services for internal or external customers. The basic elements identified in the work
system include: products and services, customers, activities, actors, strategies, infrastructure. Typical business organizations have many work systems: to obtain materials from suppliers, produce and deliver final products, find customers, create financial reports, hire employees, coordinate work across departments, and perform many other functions.
The concept of innovation system takes as its starting point the concept of the work systems in organization. Any action in an enterprise must have well-defined, identifiable and measurable goals. Actions performed should be a service – it must be referred to the
recipient, the person for whom the result of an action will have meaning and value. For the whole enterprise, receiver is not only an external customer, but also a partner or supplier.
The proposed definition of the enterprise innovation system states the following: the
innovation system is a subsystem within an enterprise, in which participants act in order to introduce innovation, with benefits for company in a strategic perspective, by use of innovation and funding sources. Basic elements of innovation system are identified as:
; Clients – recipients of innovation, external (customer, partner) or internal (group,
unit in a company).
; Innovation – a significant novelty in products, services, processes, organization,
operation; outcome of innovation system.
; Innovation activities – everything that happens within an innovation system; all
the activities taken to bring about innovation.
; Participants – co-operative groups include people who carry out activities related
to innovation in the enterprise, considered as independent entities or as groups of
; Sources of innovation – origin of any idea or solution, as an essence of an
; Sources of funding – source of funding for innovation.
3. Innovation support internet services for SME
The European Union provides support for innovation through a series of initiatives and actions aimed at providing financial support to innovators, as well as better innovation support services for SMEs, notably start-ups, by developing and testing new forms of business support and facilitating transnational cooperation with a view to mobilizing
more resources for the creation of a European Innovation Space. Actors in the innovation space in Poland include government agencies implementing development strategies for regional innovation, technology transfer centers, scientific and technological parks, academic centers and enterprises. Innovation support parties concentrate their activity on developing entrepreneurship and innovation, providing services for enterprises :
; dissemination of knowledge and skills through mentoring, training, guidance;
; assistance in a transfer and commercialization of new technologies in the
technology transfer centers, financial assistance (seed capital) offered to new and
young companies with no credit history (start-up);
; broad advisory assistance, technical and housing for the newly created small
enterprises in the first period of operation in the entrepreneurial and technology
; creation of companies clusters and innovative environments.
Of the 20 web services reviewed, most focus on functions: promoting innovation, news and information, sharing knowledge, contacts in the area of innovation. Overview of internet services supporting and facilitating innovation management has been done. Reviewed services cannot pay attention to strategic approach to innovation management. It was found that there is a lack for support particularly for SME.
This idea could be introduced by making of internet system – Innovation Markets
Review. Proposed system consists of e-services for innovation activities facilitating. It could be used as a strategic management tool for innovation analysis and planning, source of analysis for technological, organizational and marketing trends, review of ideas and unified way for access to other external proinnovation e-services. Information useful for innovation is highly distributed through the Internet. Proposed system offers aggregation, reporting and information summarizing to support innovation management in enterprise. System is planned to have component for semantics-based automatic web content indexing, component for building of ontology-based catalogue with aggregated information, catalogue search engine, reports preparing tools. Here are highlighted system features:
; orientation directly to innovation management functions;
; automation of chosen functions of innovation management;
; covering all important innovation management aspects;
; attractiveness for many different group of beneficiaries: innovation support
institutions, academia, business;
; using existing information services (internet sites with databases and content with
regard to innovation domain).
The functional scope of e-services includes the following situations with regard to innovation system elements:
Innovation: Analysis of innovation by detailed characteristics preparing.
Sources of innovation: Looking for inspiration by searching and identification in Internet resources of new ideas, technologies.
Sources of funding: Searching for financing sources by checking for grant possibilities, looking for potential investors.
Participants: Searching for partners, experts and co-workers for projects realization.
The regarding problem is significant from a scientific and practical point of view. Innovation in Poland is not accompanied by increase of global competitiveness in the polish IT sector. It is a relatively low degree of IT innovation - suitable only for the local market. Condition for the success of innovation activity is not only a high quality of current management, but also use of strategic approach. SMEs, focusing on current activities, disregard strategic management, what can reduce chance of success. There is a
serious deficiency in web services facilitating innovation management. There is a need for a development and promoting a strategic approach in management of innovation, especially among SME-IT. Proposed proinnovation e-services could support such innovation activities.
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