European “corporate future”: important part of modern entrepreneurship

Increasing role of ever growing technology’s effect on all spheres of socio-economic development provides for fundamental changes in corporate activities, e.g. on the ways the companies are organised, function and survive in turbulent times. The emerging technologies enabled by the digital “intervention” are increasing both the essence of entrepreneurship and the scale of changes. Never before in the corporate history have had contemporary technological changes such a dramatic effect on modern corporate management and administration. Hence the article is analysing the business technology’s theoretical evolution while providing some examples in practical approaches to businesses’ accommodation to modern technology trends.

In entrepreneurship and corporate strategy it is vital for business managers to anticipate the role that a company plays both in a society in general and in economy in particular. Recent digitalization’s trends have forced governing elites to seek for some regulatory means to assist corporate entities in following the perspective trends. The business technology approach can help the regulators, the governments and the corporate entities the best ways to integrate the new technologies in their practical development. The positive impacts would not wait long to show the results; entrepreneurs would see very soon the business technology’s impact in their responsible spheres.

Harnessing the potential of technology to create value for the business has become a necessity which, in turn, is to lead to urgent application of information and communication technology (ICT) to make transformative recovery operational. In other words, technology has transitioned corporate activity from the “back office to the forefront”, i.e. serving customers, employees and the society. See for example:

https://www.integrin.dk/2020/10/09/labour-movement-in-european-integration-facing-modern-challenges/

 

It has become a common place that any modern and successful company has to rely on technology’s achievements: the present stage of technological transformation (the so-called 4th industrial revolution) is already changing both traditional peoples’ skills/jobs and also changing the ways the existing (and quickly modernising) hardware/software facilities are transforming the ways business are managed and maintained. Thus, business technology (BT) means, in part, maintaining corporate software systems, managing the storage of data and/or ensuring that the workforce in SMEs has the right and secure ICT devices. More in:  

https://www.futurelearn.com/subjects/it-and-computer-science-courses/business-technology

 

Business technology in modern entrepreneurship: theory and practice

Historically, “business technology” (BT) has come to the scene as an evident contemporary approach to optimizing business processes; it has had already occupied a universally recognized field of education, science and research. Quite amazing that even prominent business consultancies have been active in modern BT’s field: thus, George Colony, CEO at Cambridge-based consultancy Forrester Research Inc., has been advocating since 2007 some “enterprise departments”, known as ICT entities to be changed lately into “business technology departments”. Thus, changes in the terminology were not only a recognition of the growing ICT’s importance but an acknowledgement of the undertakings’ changing nature and re-defined relationships among the ICTs, digital agenda and entrepreneurship.

Reference to: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/business-technology-BT

 

Another advanced BT-company, Sofigate (created in 2003) presently is employing more than 500 people in Finland, Sweden and Denmark; the firm is a recognized leader of ICT management in Scandinavia and a pioneer in “business technology” management in Northern Europe. It helps customers succeed in digitalization process by providing expertise in strategy transformations, technology solutions and management facilities.

Remarkable is a recent publication: “An introduction to Business Technology: Industry leadership through integrated technology management functions” (by Juha Huovinen, Founder & Chairman of the Board at Sofigate, Ruben Bell, consultant at Sofigate, Katri Kolesnik, Head of Innovation Centre at Sofigate, Andy Gillett, Consultant & Programme Manager at Sofigate, Reto Wyss, Business Value Manager at Sofigate, and Mira Isomäki, Project Manager at Sofigate). Source: https://www.sofigate.com/insight/an-introduction-to-business-technology/  

 

During last two decades, there have been several approaches to BT: e.g. a traditional one, which entailed some modernising the ways the business “internal activity” is performed, i.e. organisation and management practices; the following citation makes this point more clear*).

 

*)Note: Business technology is generally understood as a strategy for organising and coordinating technology management across the entire enterprise’s structure. It is a set of management practices, tools, organizational structures and technology governance designed to ensure that the use of technology is optimized across the enterprise with the overarching aim of satisfying customer needs and expectations.

 

For example, sophisticated apps can make step-by-step arrangements in a business quite efficient and/or providing a quicker adjustment to changes in modern corporate trends; these apps can help concentrate on what is most important while “balancing” between the “profit-los” complexities in business.  Reference to “business technology standard” website in: https://www.managebt.org/book/introduction/introduction-to-business-technology/

 

New BT trends: assisting recovery  

Already in 2016, the World Economic Forum pioneered research in modern industrial transformation by indentifying most important challenges to entrepreneurship. Thus, among others, the following impacts have been revealed: changing of the customers’ expectations, enhancement and improvements of products and productivity, new corporate partnerships and cooperation’s methods and models; as well as appearances of the new digital entrepreneurs’ “operating models”.  

Reference to: Schwab K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum. In: 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/10/the-fourth-industrial-revolution/, pp. 53-61.

 

However, the BT is not limited to just corporate issues; there is plenty of room for other economic and political aspects by evaluating current methodologies for national policies towards progress in attaining the SDGs. There is great need for such methodologies tied to the SDGs’ targets and indicators “performed” in view of changing entrepreneurship’s paradigm; however, it could be others as well, tested in the national context of evaluation.

More in:

https://www.integrin.dk/2020/10/14/business-and-entrepreneurship-tackling-post-pandemic-challenges/

 

Common EU’s “corporate legislation”

In 2019, the French government initiated research on issues of “united” European corporate legislation and suggesting recommendations on perspective EU-wide business code; the term “code” was supposed to be applicable to various corporate entities to create a “legal security” among the EU states. The term “economic activity” was used in a wide sense to involve all “business-type” activities in the EU-27 (besides, it is this term that was approved by the Court of Justice).

The initial research findings have shown that drafting European law for economic activities must not substitute the national corporate legislation and therefore include several stages. In the first place, an analysis of already existing EU regulations, directives and recommendations to create an already accessible normative base should be made, e.g. through the EUR-Lex and N-Lex portals to access the European approaches. This stage would both “integration corporate jurisprudence” and “popularize” business law concepts specific in the EU states, like the French idea of “good faith”.

As soon as the corporate mobility in the EU-27 must be built on harmonised rules, they have to provide businesses with the adequate tools for the necessary codification and modification. These efforts shell be employed on a bottom-up made to provide the legal means to suite the corporate activities “at large”.

Then, a new kind of a “shared European law” shall be established to simplify the joint-stock companies, JSCs to allow SMEs to move freely among the EU states within common rules and rights for managers, shareholders and third parties.

However, the French researchers acknowledged, to offer entrepreneurs legal support, different legal standard/contracts shall be envisaged: e.g. apart from tenancy agreements, other legal contracts such as insurance contracts, sales contracts and payment guarantees must be provided for. Some other EU states’ legal models (e.g. corporate districts and networks in Italy) could also be included into the “common legal forms” to be used by businesses willing to set up in other EU states.

From June 2017, business registers in all EU countries are interconnected through the Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS), which allows all interested parties to acquire information on companies registered in any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; the BRIS also shares information on foreign branches and cross-border mergers of companies.

The BRIS’ legal basis is specified in a Directive 2017/1132/EU and a Regulation (EU) 2015/884.

More in: https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_business_registers_at_european_level-105–maximize-en.do

However, a lack of a common European definition of mutual types of insurance could lead to unfair treatment and competition with other economic entities and insurance companies. Economists highlight that the harmonisation of business law at the EU-level can help in increasing the volume of trade among the states by 40% and by nearly 14% the average of income per capita in the European Union.

Generally, a EU-wide corporate legislation shall be an integral part of national economic activity and be harmonise with the national corporate management and a due support of the EU institutions to enjoy necessary political support. Besides, the registration of economic activity’s associations shall be supported in the long run by a European central corporate register (possibly even a trade register) as a common effort in cross-border corporate activity.

Source: Foundation Robert Schuman, European Issue nr. 535, 12.xii. 2019.

 

Educational facilities: teaching BT  

Another important aspect in practical BT’s implementation is corresponding aspects in science and education. Building upon already existing business’s education disciplines, such as “management information systems, MIS” and “technology and innovation management, TIM”, etc. The BT education and training seeks to provide an integrated framework for the strategic use of technology and the digital transformation of organizations; changing entrepreneurial thinking requires some new types of undertakings.

However, the BT courses are supposed to involve similarly important disciplines in business education and research areas, e.g. professional disciplines like “changing management, CM”; “management consultancy, MC”; “organizational behavior in companies, OB”; as well as derivations from strategic management (SM), and operation management (OM).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Technology_Management

 

Changing organizational management in entrepreneurship: areas of IT strategy & governance and IT sourcing; strategic, operational and organizational changes by explore new information technologies, while transform existing and harnessing opportunities of the digital economy and society.

Already appearing majors in the new courses: digital economy and society; online business data base; cyber security management; AI and robotics; big data, open cloud and IoT, to name a few.   

Some other approaches can be envisaged: e.g. development and implementation of IT solutions for business; conceptual and technical design; implementation and support of enterprise management systems (ERP); business process re-engineering at industrial enterprises; design and implementation of ICT infrastructures; development and maintenance of software; consulting services to improve business performance, etc.

Reference: https://www.erg.kz/en/content/too-business-and-technology-services/too-business-and-technology-services

 

Most important aspect in the BT’s education is the increasing necessity to train future entrepreneurs in adapting to modern technological and digital challenges through new conceptual and operating “models of success” based on BT. The new BT training is a prerequisite of “formulating” and establishing a new generation of successful business leaders equipped with the knowledge of the fundamental technological advantages.  

 

BT in the Baltic Sea Region  

Baltic Business Technology Fair and Conference “RIGA COMM” is an annual IT and business event for entrepreneurs of service and manufacturing fields, heads of government institutions, as well as IT professionals, providing the possibility to get to know the latest offer of providers of digital services and product manufacturers of the Baltics and other countries, to consult with knowledgeable specialists and select the solutions that are most suitable for one’s business or organisation. Latest event took place in October 2019 in Riga, Latvia.

https://www.bezrindas.lv/en/exhibitions/riga-comm-2019-baltic-business-technology-fair-and-conference

 

Besides, a complicated triangle is appearing in both political economy and teaching: digital society, digital economy and digital technologies; the latter is already included into the EU’s “digital technologies’ transition” as the EU-wide assistance tool: the European Partnership for Key Digital Technologies, KDT under Horizon Europe program for 2021-27, which is aimed at reinforcing member states’ innovative potential. In this partnership three partners shall be involved: universities, start-ups and big companies (+SMEs).

 

Current examples: “smart tourism”

The EU is supporting European cities to develop and promote smart tourism. The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative, which recognizes outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four award categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation, as well as cultural heritage and creativity. The initiative promotes the development of smart tourism in European cities, aims to strengthen destinations and facilitates the exchange of best practices. The initiative is managed by the European Commission, the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and results from a preparatory action proposed by the European Parliament.

Gothenburg works together with a wide variety of stakeholders and sectors to implement a truly integrated approach to smart tourism. The city stands out for its digital offering that is helping to improve experiences for both citizens and tourists. This includes future-oriented solutions for traffic and transport, open data, as well as exemplary sustainability measures.

 Málaga has transformed from a sun-and-sea tourism hotspot into an innovative tourism destination, successfully incorporating the concepts of sustainability, accessibility, innovation and culture into its smart tourism strategies and actions. The coastal city has a strong focus on using novel technologies to improve the visitor experience and boost the innovative capacity of local businesses. More about the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism in: Gothenburg: https://smarttourismcapital.eu/city/gothenburg/;  Málaga: https://smarttourismcapital.eu/city/malaga-2020/

 

A selection of the most innovative projects, ideas and initiatives, submitted by cities competing for the 2019 and 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism can be found in the EU’s Compendium of Best Practices, the go-to guide to smart tourism in the European member states.

More on smart tourism in the website on the European Capital of Smart Tourism; on the best practices in: https://smarttourismcapital.eu/best-practices/

 

Business technology in modern entrepreneurship  

Emerging new technologies enabled by the digital “intervention” are changing not only the basic entrepreneurship’s concepts (like the notorious 4Ps in marketing mix) and the scale of changes but also the structure and essence of online services. Quite often these changes have been “united” under a common denominational connotation, i.e. the business technology, BT. 

There is an urgent necessity to analyse the business technology’s theoretical evolution while providing some examples in practical approaches to business accommodation to modern technology’s trends. Almost each person, all industries and manufacturing, as well as all countries’ economies have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. All available efforts are being used to overcome the crisis; however, despite everything, strong sense of innovation and creativity is needed at these challenging times; one of these creative things is business technology.

More in: Making business fit for the future: deliberations on corporate perspectives. In: 

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng2/modern_eu/?doc=155060  

 

The BT’s approach can help the regulators, the governments and the corporate entities to find the best ways to integrate the new technologies in their practical actions: positive impacts would not wait long to show the results and entrepreneurs would see positive BT’s impact in their responsible spheres. Harnessing the potential of technology to create value for the business has become already a necessity; in its turn it has acquired a new function, i.e. becoming both transformational and operational. Thus, technology has “transitioned” from a “side-part” of a corporate office to the forefront as a vital operational link between the customers, employees, the SMEs and society.

The BT is becoming an important ingredient of modern business; the latter is to be understood as a set of new ideas, innovations and technologies that are changing the ways a business is operating: e.g. various online activities (shops and e-trade, both whole sales and retail), IoT and other digital technologies. 

 

The BT is heavily connected to digitalisation transformation in the national growth: actually, the so-called “business technology standard” depicts four categories of “business interfacing technology”: for customers, for products, for operational technology and for the actual business processing. This goes in line with the “voice of next generation” website which defies business technology “as any type of technology directly integrated into business operations”; i.e. it is technology which forms an active part of the corporate activity, rather than just representing a kind of workforce. In this sense, the BT provides such benefits as, e.g. enhanced communication, additional security, increased efficiency and productivity, as well as reduced costs.

Source: https://www.shoutoutuk.org/2019/11/13/what-is-business-technology-and-why-is-it-important/

 

There is even a more general approach to BT as “business technology refers to applications of science, data, engineering, and information for business purposes, such as the achievement of economic and organizational goals”. Source: 

https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-business-technology-characteristics-development.html

Some experts even suggest the enumeration of the most BT’s most important types and components, such as computers’ hardware and software, networking, phone and PC-communications, accounting and inventory control systems, as well as other approaches based on ICT support systems for business.  

Reference to Zimega TS at: https://zimegats.com/the-7-most-common-types-of-business-technology/    

 

Wikipedia provides the following a rather sophisticated BT’s definition which involves management (i.e. business technology management, BTM) as an emerging trans-disciplinary research area and professional discipline in business administration.

Building upon other business disciplines, such as management information systems and technology/innovation management, this definition seeks to provide an integrated framework for the strategic use of technology and the digital transformation of organizations. (italics is mine, EE). It is obvious that the BTM’s concept is evolving along all other research areas in business: e.g. professional disciplines of change-management and management consulting, organizational behavior, strategic and operations management.  

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Technology_Management 

 

Therefore, business technology (BT) means, in part, maintaining corporate software systems, managing the storage of data and/or ensuring that the workforce in SMEs has the right and secure ICT devices. References to:

https://www.futurelearn.com/subjects/it-and-computer-science-courses/business-technology

 

Digital applications have become one of the most important directions in perspective growth. Together with artificial intelligence’s means (AI) in general and those in decision-making, the outcomes of the quickly growing digital technologies are already providing for sufficient “drivers” for impacts in economy, business, social and individual spheres. Already in 2016, the Davos’ forum president Klaus Schwab described the fundamental changes in peoples’ lives, work and inter-personal relations forced by the digital technology. In his 23 “deep shifts”, the following recommendations have been made: a) with a rate of occurrence up to 80%: implantable technologies, new interfaces, wearable internet, supercomputers “in the pocket”, internet of things, smart cities and driverless cars; b) with a rate of occurrence of a about 50 %: artificial intelligence and decision-making, robotics and services, sharing economy, 3D printing in general and in human health, neuron-technologies (monitoring brain activity), etc. More in:

https://www.weforum.org/about/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab

 

BT is not limited to just corporate issues; there is plenty of room for use from other spheres of economics and politics: e.g. evaluating current methodologies for national policies towards progress in attaining the SDGs. There is great need for such methodologies tied to the SDGs’ targets and indicators “performed” in view of changing entrepreneurship’s paradigm; however, it could be others as well, tested in the national context of evaluation. In March 2020, the EU-wide programme, so-called Quantum Technologies Flagship was officially launched based on twenty years’ European scientists’ efforts in quantum technology with four main applied areas in the field: communication, computing, simulation, as well as sensing and metrology. The QT’s funding is at the level of one billion euros for ten years.

Source: https://qt.eu/newsroom/the-quantum-flagship-officially-presents-the-strategic-research-agenda-to-the-european-commission/

 

Various “connected devices”, commonly known as the internet of things (IoT), have been already expanding exponentially around the world: they work in numerous forms and platforms, e.g. from smart building technologies that monitor and manage energy usage to connected vehicles that help anticipate and avoid potential collisions, to name a few. By 2025, the number of IoT devices is projected to exceed 40 billion, fuelled by continued technological advances and the plummeting costs of computing, storage and connectivity. Scaling up the next generation of policies and protocols help to accelerate the IoT’s societal benefits and mitigating the risks of connected devices in all socio-economic spheres including public and private sectors, consumers and enterprises.

As IoT technologies continue to spread to all aspects of daily life, and even become embedded in the human body, questions about data ownership, accuracy and privacy protection take on greater importance. Similarly, in an interconnected world where electric grids, public infrastructure, vehicles, homes and workplaces are capable of being accessed and controlled remotely, the vulnerability to cyber attacks and the potential for these security breaches to cause serious harm are unprecedented.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/platforms/shaping-the-future-of-technology-governance-iot-robotics-and-smart-cities

 

For example, a US construction and architecture technology company (private Flexus JSC founded in 2013), provided for a progressive path in construction: delivering affordable housing through a prefab building platform with a leveraged networks of global partners uniting several innovative firms dealing with smart city technologies, green building materials, intelligent design, industrialization and digitalization of construction. Hence, the ideas of the so-called “smart construction”, i.e. from intelligent manufacturing to grid optimization in “smart homes”, are becoming the modern trends and models in the housing, construction and related industries.

It is estimated that the IoT’s spheres can inject $14 trillion of economic value to the global economy by 2030; however, issues related to fair distribution of IoT’s benefits in global societies are becoming the largest problem in modern governance. Therefore, it one of the fundamental priorities in research is a “collective consensus” on governance involved in the IoT operation systems in order to maximize the positive benefits and minimize harm to socio-economic and environmental aspects in development. 

In shaping the global agenda concerning the IoT’s phenomena, at a time of rising public interest in the technology’s social and economic implications, the role of modern entrepreneurship, often called business technology, are becoming ever more important. The digital revolution’s brochure already in 2016 acknowledged that about 1 trillion sensors connected to internet, what is presently known as IoT, will be available by 2025 (as 90 per cent of respondents expected); creating new business was specifically underlined, alongside increasing efficiency in using resources, rise in productivity and improved quality of life.   

The COVID-19 phenomenon has shaken all spheres of modern societies, including businesses, governments and social values. It has also underlined the critical role of digital and other technologies (in particular, the technology’s application in entrepreneurship) can and should play in national governance with the aim of strengthening countries’ resilience and responses in critical times. It is more than ever before, the governing elites as well as academic and business communities need to provide commonly adopted strategic guidance and priorities for the perspective growth.

The problematic situation rests on the fact that there is no so far in the international community or in the national governance and entrepreneurship (as well as in emerging technologies) a ready-made system of a “governance reaction” to IoT in modern decision-making.

More on Internet of Things, robotics and smart cities in the World Economic Forum’s website in: 

 https://www.weforum.org/about/world-economic-forum

 

The digital transformation is accelerating in all walks of life as people and businesses are used working online, bringing vast technical potentials into changing existence involving various network capacities. In this regard, scientific recommendations to governments and corporate entities are needed more than ever while bringing both parts into more resourceful European and global views. 

Modern corporate activities are witnessing the appearance of new technologies that are changing existing entrepreneurship and creating new ways of “doing business” in numerous socio-economic sectors. For example, new technologies in energy and transportation are significantly changing services’ provision in traditional businesses; the 3-D printing methods changes traditional manufacturing, distribution and maintenance methods in services; other digitalization and technological novelties increase entrepreneurship’s capacities in modernising existing global/regional value-added chains. Besides, ICT applications in healthcare and automotive sectors augment corporate competitive advantages.

Most important in modern BT is the educational and training facilities: only through new courses involving “technological components” the contemporary adaptations of business education to modern challenges can be successfully achieved.

All the mentioned factors could be important in a proper understanding of the BT’s role in the perspective national states’ efforts in modern transformations, recovery and resilience.

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