When you think of the digital revolution, what first may come to mind are large, highly competitive tech companies such as Apple and Samsung. However, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the digital revolution as well, as they compose approximately 95% of the European economy. The variety of SMEs is huge, from innovative and fast-growing companies that provide or use digital solutions, to SMEs that face challenges such as finding the time, financial resources and skills to benefit from digital technologies.

To push the European economy forward, it is essential that SMEs are able to take up emerging technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cybersecurity. As regards security, it is also a plain necessity as SMEs are part of ecologies with other SMEs and larger companies. The weakest link…

Some SMEs can already be considered leaders in the adoption of these three technologies, but others could use some help. Some are not aware, some lack skills, some miss the budget to advance etc. Many reasons may be, but digital transformation is unavoidable for SMEs (especially tech-SMEs). That’s why the initiative ‘Supporting specialised skills development on Big Data, IoT and Cybersecurity for SMEs in Europe’ was started. The main objective of this initiative is to research, identify, design, test and validate specific measures supporting specialised skills development related to Big Data, IoT and Cybersecurity.


The goal is to propose concrete measures and solutions that are ready to use by SMEs to strengthen their workforce adaptability and capacity. This includes:

  • Designing a shared vision for skills development for SMEs on Big Data, Internet of Things and Cybersecurity for the coming years until 2023;
  • Creating a roadmap to support countries in the implementation;
  • Creating a toolbox with tailored solutions for SMEs. This will consist of a self-assessment tool, recommendations for their way forward (e.g. training programs) and best practices from other organisations;
  • Creating a monitoring mechanism to monitor skills gaps and to track progress of the implementation in the coming years until 2023.

Plan of action

To reach these goals, the plan of action for this initiative consists of the following steps:

  • In-depth interviews with 50+ key experts (first round February – June 2018, second round May 2019);
  • Online surveys addressing 150+ stakeholders from SMEs throughout Europe (first round February – June 2018, second round May 2019);
  • Six workshops across Europe – first one taking place 6 June 2018 in Brussels;
  • Conference (November 2019);
  • Delivering the final report (December 2019).

Target groups for the study will be IT professionals, advanced users and managers in SMEs that already apply Big Data and IoT in their organisations and value chains.

You’re invited to share your expertise and contribute to this initiative!

We want to help SMEs in leading or keeping up with the digital revolution, but we can’t do this alone. Your expertise and experience will be highly valued as a contribution to our research. Are you an IT professional, advanced user or manager in an SME who made a start in applying Big Data and/or IoT, while addressing Cybersecurity challenges? Or are you preparing these steps? You can help by participating in our survey, an interview, one of our workshops or the conference. On our website you can find more information, workshop dates, our contact details and the link to sign up: www.skills.digitalsme.eu.