The digital revolution is not only about large tech companies but also essentially about start-ups and SMEs that provide or use digital solutions. SMEs are vital to the European economy, making up 99% of Europe's businesses1 and accounting for two-thirds of total employment. The variety is huge, from innovative and fast-growing companies that provide or use digital solutions, to those that face significant challenges such as acquiring the necessary skills to benefit from digital technologies.
Whereas improving basic digital skills is already a challenge, the emergence of technologies such as big data, IoT and cybersecurity is creating significant new specialised skills gaps, shortages and mismatches, especially for SMEs, who cannot afford to compete with large enterprises to attract and retain the scarce digital talents. There are serious skills shortages at every level in the hierarchy of SMEs: from e-Leadership skills to ICTprofessionals to users’ digital skills.
This study report concludes an initiative by the European Commission and EASME to supporting specialised skills development related to Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cybersecurity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. The report includes an analysis of the potential benefits and barriers for technology adoption by SMEs and presents a vision, roadmap and toolbox to increase the capacity of industry, social partners, education and training organisations and policy makers at all levels to promote and support the acquisition of these skills by SMEs in Europe.
It is built on broad stakeholder and expert consultation via workshops, surveys, interviews and a high-level conference. It includes references to good practices and lessons learned derived from them to identify elements relevant to scaling up.