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Newsletter August 2007

The Sectoral eBusiness Watch - an introduction


The Sectoral e-Business Watch and its objectives

The Sectoral e-Business Watch (SeBW), funded by the European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate General, systematically monitors ICT adoption, e-business activity and impact in European firms from different industries. SeBW also assesses the implications of the trends and processes observed for key stakeholders. Stakeholders include enterprises and their employees, suppliers and customers – while customers may be other businesses, consumers or public sector organisations. Services of the SeBW build on work of the preceding European e-Business Market W@tch observatory, which was successfully conducted from late 2001 until January 2007.

The strategic objective of the Sectoral e-Business Watch (SeBW) is to support and encourage the widespread adoption of ICT into competitiveness-enhancing use across Europe and throughout European enterprises. In this context, the SeBW has three operational objectives:

  • to study and assess the impact of ICT on enterprises, industries and the economy in general;
  • to highlight barriers for ICT uptake, i.e. issues that are hindering a more effective use of ICT by enterprises in Europe;
  • to identify and discuss public policy challenges arising from the observed developments, notably at European level.


Innovations in the methodological approach

In order to maintain a position at the cutting-edge of e-business monitoring and analysis, the SeBW actively responds to emerging changes in the requirements of policy and research environments:

  • Main focus on ICT impact: Sector and topic studies will focus strongly on key impacts of ICT adoption including innovation, productivity, employment dynamics, the composition of the workforce, market structure and value chain configurations. Econometric analyses will be conducted in order to gain more robust evidence on ICT effects.
  • Integration of existing data sources: The SeBW will make intense use of data from existing, recognised data sources of appropriate quality and scope, in particular from the Eurostat Community Survey on ICT Usage in Enterprises.
  • Adaptation of survey instruments: The SeBW will split its survey work into several smaller surveys. This enables the use of specific questionnaires, adapted to the type of sector or topic.
  • Expanded use of case studies:The role of case studies will be further increased. 100 case studies will be collected, and the collection of standardised information about cases will be extended in order to facilitate comparative analysis.
  • Extended dialogue with industry: Activities to engage in dialogue with stakeholders, in particular from industry, will be significantly intensified. An important instrument here will be the setting up of Advisory Boards for each sector and topic studied.