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ESA Research – PAPEI: The key role of technology in modern business

In a special hybrid event in a room of the Peace and Friendship Stadium, the results of the Study conducted by the University of Piraeus on behalf of the Athens Chamber of Commerce were presented on Wednesday 19/1, on: The effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on business continuity and SME resilience: the critical role of technology.

The event was opened with a speech by the President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and KEEE, Mr. Giannis Chatzitheodosiou, while the Minister of Finance, Mr. Christos Staikouras, the Rector of PA.PEI, addressed greetings. Mr. Angelos Kotios, the Commander of AADE, Mr. George Pitsilis, the President of GSEVEE and a member of D.E. of EEA, Mr. George Kavvathas, the President of SVAP Mr. Dimitris Mathios while the introduction for the presentation of the Study was made by the Professor and Vice Rector of PA.PEI. Mr. Grigoris Chondrokoukis.

In his introductory position, Mr. Hatzitheodosiou referred to the main conclusions of the Study and focused on the problems caused by the pandemic in small and medium entrepreneurship but also on the key role of technological tools in modern business, which is evident from the development of e-commerce. “The transition to the new digital age is helping small and medium-sized enterprises to create a new digital network, a factor that is crucial for such businesses to respond to increased competition and to promote their products in larger markets. And of course to implement “with new success rates, new innovative proposals”, stressed among others Mr. Hatzitheodosiou, while referring to the way of dealing with the health crisis and the price increases, he submitted specific proposals of the chamber community, which aim at supporting the affected companies. “The money of the Recovery Fund should reach everywhere”, underlined the President of KEEE and EEC.

After Mr. Chatzitheodosiou, the Rector of the University of Piraeus, Mr. Angelos Kotios, spoke, pointing out that much worse business performance would have been recorded in the pandemic if it were not for the technological tools. “What we will be left with from the crisis is the dissemination of new technologies”, Mr. Kotios estimated while noting that small and medium entrepreneurship has shown adaptability in the use and utilization of new technological tools.

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Christos Staikouras, after thanking the EEC for the cooperation during all this difficult period of the health crisis, referred to the measures taken by the government to support entrepreneurship and employment. “We have essentially supported the media, because they are more vulnerable to crises and external shocks,” Staikouras said. related to business digitization.

Mr. Pitsilis mentioned the actions of AADE during the pandemic, while he stressed that “our big bet is for the companies to be served safely from their computer screen”.

Mr. George Kavvathas spoke about the consequences of the pandemic and the need to take additional measures aimed at supporting businesses and their digital transformation, while Mr. Dimitris Mathios spoke about the course of processing in the midst of a pandemic.

The results of the Study were presented by the Assistant Professor Mr. Thomas Dasaklis.

The event was attended by SYRIZA MPs Mr. Theodoros Dritsas and Tryfon Alexiadis, Presidents of Chambers, members of the Administrative Committee and the Board. of E.E.A., representatives of the local government and the business community.

The presentation of the event was made by the journalist Mr. Nikos Ypofantis.

The Study Summary follows: “The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Business Continuity and Sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises: The Critical Role of Technology”

The pandemic has brought about dramatic changes in the broader business macro environment, encouraging companies to adopt digital technology on a larger scale and under time pressure. According to studies, digital technology allows companies to transform their business models quickly, rather than in traditional or linear ways. In particular, the digitization of the business world helps small and medium-sized enterprises to create a new digital network, which allows the dominance of large enterprises to be overcome. As small and medium-sized enterprises play an important role in determining a country’s economy, the emergence and development of the digital market is very important.

The technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution can be used to improve the resilience and continuity of operations. Technologies such as digital supply chain, data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, digital commerce and the Internet of Things can increase the resilience and flexibility of organizations and enable them to perform better than they do. their counterparts in turbulent or unstable environments. In general, SMEs adopt a different degree of digital transformation, which can be summarized in three components: a) SMEs with a high level of digital maturity that respond to the challenges by accelerating the transition to digital businesses, c) SMEs that have very limited digital literacy but are supported by a high level of social capital. Other research findings suggest that SME innovation practices have a significant impact on their performance and survival. Empirical findings reveal that the ability to innovate is essential for the survival of an SME during a crisis and confirm the positive impact of marketing innovation and process innovation on the financial performance of SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the research carried out by the Professional Chamber of Athens, in collaboration with the University of Piraeus and scientifically responsible Professor Gr. Chondrokoukis, Vice Rector for Research and Lifelong Education Univ. Piraeus, it is significantly confirmed that one of the dimensions of digital readiness of companies is related to the digital knowledge and skills of their staff and the degree to which they use them in their work. More than three in four companies (75.9%) have human resources that in the vast majority (more than 80%) operate a computer at work.

It is undeniable that business viability and development strategies require the utilization of modern IT tools. This is something that is embraced by the majority of companies in the sample, as only 2.7% of respondents believe that there is no expediency, such as to arouse the company’s interest in upgrading its technological infrastructure. On the contrary, one in three of the companies in the sample seeks and manages to provoke technological developments and / or adopt them before most of its competitors. Of similar interest are the data related to the evolution of turnover that came from sales of goods / services via the internet. Thus, the majority of companies (54.05%) saw an increase in relative turnover during the pandemic while a small percentage (13.52%) found a decrease.

Respondents’ views on the extent to which they believe that the use of new technologies contributed to the resilience of businesses during the pandemic have the same characteristics as the previous record, with a further shift in favor of positive views. Thus, 10% believe that the relevant contribution was limited (very little, little – the option “not at all” does not appear) while more than three in four companies in the sample (77.9%) believe that the use of new technologies has contributed significantly to business resilience (very, very, absolutely). The median value of the data collected corresponds to the area described as “too much”.

Corresponding findings emerge from the question referred to the extent to which respondents believe that the use of new technologies contributes to the faster recovery of the company’s pace after a crisis. More than half (58.4%) believe it too much or completely, 34.9% much or enough, while only 6.7% of the respondents believe it less (not at all, very little, little). The median value of the data collected corresponds to the area described as “too much”.

Finally, the research examined the characteristics of companies that showed excellent performance during the pandemic period. These are defined as those companies in the sample that managed to increase their turnover during the pandemic period by more than or equal to 30%. These represent 9.4% of the sample. In the case of businesses that had a significant increase in turnover during the pandemic, micro-enterprises account for 78.6% and small-scale enterprises 21.4%. More than seven out of ten of these companies showed similar performance during the period 2009-2019 (increase in turnover by more than or equal to 30%). 92.8% are active in the field of services. These companies have a significant contribution to employability, as they have for the most part an increase in the number of employees they employ. The vast majority of these companies are particularly interested in technological developments. More than 85% of these companies adopt and / or challenge the technological developments in their industry. It is noteworthy that half of the companies in this category consider that the adoption of technological developments is also an important component for creating a competitive advantage.

Source From: Capital

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