Small- and Medium Enterprises: Better access to information management and knowledge networks
new global world of distributed competence
Information management and knowledge networks can be seen as concepts permitting the way between suppliers and users of information to be shortening. SMEs are entering the new global world of „distributed competence”, being the notion that pent-up capacity and capability in many areas around the world are now more available, initially at lower cost than in the past, but with increasing competence as these capacities are used and absorbed by users. In order to integrate these external resources, two instruments are required:
- Firstly, SMEs should enjoy easier access to appropriate tools to stock the external knowledge according to their needs.
- Secondly, SMEs will have to develop a new information and knowledge management process by assuring an optimum diffusion of the knowledge to their staff and their networking business partners in order to exploit the information and generate added value.
More than 50% of all innovations originated from single inventors and SMEs
It is fascinating to note that already now, 30% of all internationally traded goods and services and at least 10% of all FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) are been generated by SMEs. The Georgia State University in a recently published study estimated that since World War II more than 50% of all innovations and even 95% of all „radical” innovations, e.g. in electronics, medicine techniques and genetic engineering originated from single inventors and SMEs. Considering the fact that in most Countries of the world approximately 98% of the enterprises are SMEs one can imagine the huge potential of SME’s contribution in the nearer future to economic growth, employment and alleviation of poverty in less developed Countries and less privileged economies.
Available information management tools
International UN Organizations, e.g. UNIDO, OECD, UNESCO, UNECE, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations, such as WUSME World Union of Small- and Medium Enterprises, but also various private companies, e.g. Microsoft, IMB and others support and promote information and knowledge management with a series of intelligent and efficient programs and service offers. Broadband Communication Systems provide a real possibility for fundamental changes in the way that distributed organizations interact and intra-company transactions are carried out. However, their use has o be tailored to SME’s capabilities as well regionally as in accordance with the stage of their development. Here is one good example:
UNIDO EXCHANGE MARKET PLACE: The system comprises among other services investment and cooperation opportunities, technology transfer, product offers and requests. UNIDO’s ITPO Network enables SMEs to use the Information Fast Lane, partnership promotion, investment and technology promotion, delegate program and business negotiations. Another strong tool is the SPX Subcontracting and Partnership Exchanges and Outsourcing Software (UNIDOSS). Other UNIDO services are: Investment and Technology Promotion, Private Sector Development with priorities: Business Partnership Program, SME Cluster and Networking, Women Entrepreneur Development. SMEs supporting national Non-Government Organizations, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Commercial Banks will play a decisive role by helping SMEs customizing these service offers of International Organizations.