Development of a tool for the analysis of the service network capability of small and medium-sized enterprises

The goal of the project Fit4Net was to create an online analysis tool for an autonomous establishing of the service network capility of small and medium-sized enterprises.

One of the reasons for the increased engagement of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in networks is the rising demand of comprehensive services in addition to the actual product. This, however, demonstrates a problem for SMEs since they are firstly, focused on their core business and secondly, do not have the necessary resources to expand their service offerings according to these additional demands.

The participation in networks does offer a suitable solution for these problems. First of all, they are able to compensate for the SME’s deficit of resources. Furthermore, do cooperations play a significant role in the area of knowledge-intensive services, as e.g seen in the IT-service sector. Previous research of networks mostly ignored the initiation phase of net-works but rather focused on the construction phase including the search for appropriate partners. The initiation phase, however, does play a major role in the creation of a network since this is where the foundation for the assurance of the own interests and an overall pur-poseful and suitable cooperation is created. Subsequently, the purpose of the project at hand was to evaluate and analyze the different aspects of the initiation phase of networks. In essence, the project Fit4Net should enable companies, especially SMEs, to identify and analyze their own service-network ability.