Title IT Service Management for SMEs of the Danube Region (ITSM4SME)
Project Number DE/13/LLP-LdV/TOI/147665
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Information technologies have been regarded as key drivers of innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). However, many SMEs still had difficulties in utilizing these new technologies efficiently in order to foster process and product innovation. This was partly due to the fact that many SMEs didn't use IT Service Management (ITSM) and wasted many resources in running basic IT-functions like the maintenance of printers, software or server.
IT Service Management is a discipline for managing IT systems, centered on the customer's perspective of IT's contribution to the business. Thus, by strengthening the performance of SME's IT departments, ITSM enables process innovation (e.g. eProcurement) and product innovations (e.g. client services) can be promoted. ITSM4SME wanted to make SME`s aware of the potential of ITSM and trained them using a blended-learning approach and a simplified ITSM method tailored to the needs of SME.
E-skills are crucial to boost competitiveness, productivity and innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). In Europe there has been the need to ensure that knowledge, skills and competences of IT managers and IT practitioners meet the highest global standards. Since the 1980s larger companies started to use IT service management (ITSM) methods to run their IT departments effectively and to align their IT to their business strategy. But for European SMEs especially in the Danube Region it was very difficult to implement ITSM frameworks like ITIL, TOGAF or CoBIT in their companies. Most of the IT managers didn't have the necessary ITSM skills for the introduction. This led to the situation that SMEs of the Danube Region had – in comparison with larger and international operating companies – skill based structural disadvantages: they couldn’t realize efficiency effects (up to 20-40 %) and were less innovative with regard to their IT management.
The consortium identified the aforementioned lack of skills of IT managers as a main barrier. Hence, a main reason of the project ITSM4SME was to tackle this barrier for efficiency and innovation in the Danube Region. The main aim of the project was the improvement of the VET (vocational education and training) in the addressed regions. Based on the former project INNOTRAIN IT, innovative ITSM trainings and services for learning and information have been transferred and adapted according to the qualification needs of IT managers and IT staff of SMEs in Bulgaria (greater Sofia), Romania (greater Tirgu-Mures) and Slovenia (greater Ljubljana). This has improved the regional situation in the fields of innovation, employment and competitiveness and support the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
Basis of the ITSM4SME was the INTERREG IVB Central Europe project INNOTRAIN IT. The innovative project results like the ITSM method for SMEs, the training concept, training materials and an ITSM modelling tool have been adapted and transferred to Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. Therefore, the consortium consisted of three conceptually and methodically responsible partners of the INNOTRAIN IT project and three VET training partners of the Danube Region that have profound experiences in teaching IT and innovation skills.
The ITSM4SME work plan consisted of two cross-sectional work packages and four more content focused work packages. Starting point have been the identification and definition of the qualification requirements for ITSM in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. In regional workshops with local SMEs, IT service providers, IT professionals, IT & VET experts and stakeholders regional characteristics and requirements in ITSM as well as opportunities for the transfer and qualification have been identified. Based on this, the methods and training concepts developed within INNOTRAIN IT have been adapted to the regional requirements of SMEs. The next step has been started with the preparation of training materials (presentations, ITSM guide, training cases), the development and testing of the ITSM modeling tools and the development and testing of the training platform in 3 languages (SI, BG, RO). After completion of the material the trainers have been trained in the implementation of ITSM trainings (train the trainer). Afterwards, the organisation, the marketing and the implementation of free, one to two-day ITSM trainings with physical presence of the participants have been carried out in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia by regional training partners.
The cross-sectional work package “Project Management” provided the basis for the efficient and effective management of the project and the achievement of the project goals and the work package “Quality Monitoring” has ensured that the ITSM trainings and materials cover the regional needs of the target group and was based on the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET (EQAVET). Within the work package dissemination, activities and evaluation based on a communication strategy and plan have been implemented. At the end, the exploitation of the project results was planed and a common exploitation strategy has been developed.
Utilization and distribution of results
Information and Communication
Administrative and Support Service Activities
Real Estate Activities
Financial and Insurance Activities
Transportation and Storage
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply
Mining and Quarrying
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Other Service Activities
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
program or curricula
open and distance learning
The main outcome has been 34 training courses implemented as two modules (ITSM basis & change management) with over 385 participants (IT managers, CIOs, IT affine CEOs) from SMEs of the Danube Region. The trained IT skills have referred to the European e-Competence Framework 2.0 and the EQF. A continuous exchange of knowledge and experience between IT managers at regional and European level has been established.
The impact - based on the improvement of ITSM skills of the trainees and the better level of efficiency in the SMEs – was the support of innovation, employment and competitiveness in the Danube Region. At least 120 SMEs of the Danube Region have initiated an IT based innovation processes in their company. Furthermore, an improvement of the VET offers in the Danube Region has been initiated.
In total, 41 results have been achieved within the project ITSM4SME. The results were dealing for example with the analysis of the needs in the regions, the possibilities of transfer and adaptation of materials, tools and concepts, but also with topics like quality assurance, dissemination and exploitation.