فناوری اطلاعات و ارتباطات و خوشه های جغرافیایی: فرصت ها و پراکندگی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17919||2005||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 2005, Pages 213–222
The widespread adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) characterising the recent competitive scenario has been of great interest to researchers and practitioners. Many studies have been carried out to provide answers to different questions concerning, for example, the impact of ICTs on organisations, the role of ICTs in the economic development, the opportunities given by ICTs’ adoption to SMEs. In this paper, the opportunities provided by the adoption and implementation of ICT solutions in a particular SME-intensive productive environment, the geographical cluster, are examined. To this end, first the ICT capabilities and their effects on the value-creating processes characterising a generic supply chain are analysed. Subsequently, the analysis is contextualised to geographical clusters in order to identify the more appropriate ICTs for cluster firms. Finally, the actual ICTs’ spread within the Italian industrial districts is examined.
It is argued that the diffusion of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) is changing the way by which companies compete and succeed, the business models, and the value-creating processes. New opportunities are taking place both to create new ventures and to modify the existing businesses. These changing processes are due to the ICTs’ capability to transfer, collect, manage a great amount of information and to reduce the space and time barriers. Therefore, firms may reduce the transaction costs of information-intensive activities by resorting to ICTs. These opportunities may especially favour small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that in most cases operate in a dense network of inter-firm relationships and consequently manage a great amount of information. However, recent data on the diffusion and adoption of ICTs show that the ICT penetration is still quite low among SMEs (Eurostat, 2002, IDC, 2000, OECD, 1998 and OECD, 2001). This paper explores the opportunities provided by the adoption and implementation of ICT solutions in a particular SME-intensive productive environment: the geographical cluster. The characteristics of this peculiar production model make it particularly appropriate for the use of ICTs and Internet-based solutions. In fact, as stressed by a large number of scholars (Becattini et al., 1992, Enright, 1995, Maillat et al., 1995, Piore and Sabel, 1984 and Porter, 1998), clusters base their competitive advantages on two distinctive aspects: (1) the inter-networking processes and (2) the speed and easy circulation of information and knowledge. Thus, a cluster can be seen as an extended enterprise, where the different actors (the cluster firms) are usually specialised in single manufacturing phases, that require intense coordination, flexible relationships, and appropriate supporting tools to manage the networking activities. Therefore, it may be possible to think that the new economy and ICTs provide geographical clusters with new development opportunities, drawing new possible trajectories of evolution. The paper in particular is addressed to: • recognise the opportunities of ICT applications in the value-creating processes; • analyse the implications of the ICT adoption for cluster firms, identifying the e-business models and ICT applications that best fit the characteristics of geographical clusters; and • evaluate the actual trend of adoption and implementation of e-business models and ICT applications within clusters. According to this, first the ICT capabilities and their role in modifying the processes of value creation are analysed (Section 2). In particular, the focus is placed on the following value-creating processes characterising the supply chain (Porter, 1985): • logistic and networking, this process groups all the activities involved in three elements of the supply chain, namely the “inbound logistics”, “outbound logistics”, and “procurement”; • marketing and customer relations, this process groups all the activities involved in two elements of the supply chain, namely “marketing and sales” and “after-sales service”; • innovation development, this process corresponds to the “technology development” element of the supply chain. For these value-creating processes, on the basis of the literature review, the effects of ICTs are identified. Second, the strengths and weaknesses of geographical clusters are analysed (Section 3). A qualitative evaluation of the effects of such strengths and weaknesses on the value-creating processes within clusters is presented. Third, starting from the above analysis, the ICT solutions and e-business models, suitable to both enhance the strengths and reduce the barriers to succeed in the global competitive context, characterising the geographical clusters are identified (Section 4). Finally, in Section 5, the actual trend of the process of adoption and implementation of ICT applications and e-business models within some real cases of geographical clusters is discussed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The paper contributes to the debate on the role of ICTs within geographical clusters. The widespread development and diffusion of ICTs, on one side, and the competitive success of geographical clusters, on the other, raise the following questions: 1. What are the main opportunities offered by the ICT to geographical clusters? 2. Are all the ICTs and e-business models suitable for geographical clusters? 3. Does the ICT adoption modify the geographical cluster structure? The analysis carried out in the paper and the data collected for the Italian IDs do not allow exhaustive answers to be given. However, some indications arising in the paper can help answer the above mentioned questions. Regarding the first question, it is possible to state that the adoption and implementation of ICT solutions within geographical clusters can offer the following main opportunities to cluster firms: • improving the communication with the external environment. ICTs, in fact, allow the formation of open networks inter-connecting cluster firms with the global market; • favouring interactions and information exchanges among firms within the cluster; • optimising the production processes performance by redefining the relationships with customers and suppliers. In fact, shared databases, integrated information systems, and Internet-based applications supporting the marketing and logistic activities greatly improve the efficacy and efficiency of the key supply chain business processes (namely, customer relationship management, customer service management, demand management, order fulfillment, manufacturing flow management, procurement, product development and commercialisation). Regarding the second question, it seems that the available technological supply does not completely fit the cluster firms’ demand. The ICT demand expressed by cluster firms, in fact, presents specific features that are strictly related to the nature of clusters. In particular: 1. the small size of firms requires shared technological infrastructures; 2. the fragmentation of the production process requires integrated technological infrastructures; 3. the local specificity requires dedicated technological solutions, enabling the valorisation of those cluster features on which the competitive success of this production model has been based. Finally, with regard to the possible effects of the ICT adoption on the geographical cluster structure, two main future scenarios can be conceived. One in which the ICTs’ implementation will not cancel out the local rooting of cluster firms that will continue to coexist with new and different groupings of firms, some of which may be inter-networked via ICTs. On the contrary, the second scenario posits the disappearance of social and cultural values embedded in the local environment with the consequent affirmation of virtual clusters characterised by SMEs located all over the world and inter-connected through a complex ICT-based network.