Export-Helpdesk

Executive Summary

The objective of the present preliminary study is the mapping and the valuation of the existing situation of the infrastructure and information services which are provided by institutions, both of public and of private sector, to existing and potential Greek Exporters, and in the sequel of that, to develop the appropriate infrastructure and services, in the context of the project “Technical assistance of the Greek Export Promotion Action Plan” (MoE – March 2016) and especially: to set up an information portal and a help-desk service.

This Action Plan is giving priority to acts on a sufficient level of maturity for implementation, which have been found to be in need of intervention, and which intend to design an export policy and to facilitate the access of Greek exporters to international markets by upgrading and improvement of public sector services. Especially, as regards the two sub Actions A.1 .: “Set up of an information system and a web portal for the extroversion” and A.2 .: “Helpdesk Service”, as had been proposed (see p. 27) within the frame of the National Reform Programme 2016 and in particular in the Action Plan for the Promotion of Exports, was confirmed that both in the preparation of proposals, and at the consultation between public and private institutions that followed, that in recent years many information systems and web-based information infrastructures have been developed, by many institutions, public and private.

The objective of the preliminary study is its deliverables to be the first source of information both the Greek authorities and the German Organization (GIZ), in order to provide the expertise needed within the 3rd Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece.

As part of the preliminary study investigated, reflected and evaluated:

  1. The current situation in information infrastructure and information services provided by institutions both of public and private sector, to existing and potential export business in Greece and especially:

1.1 The institutions (public and private) which provide web-based information infrastructures and support services (helpdesk) to exporters, making reference to any statutory obligations regarding such activities.

1.2 The sources and the type of information they collect (thematic categories covered, type of data, etc.) as well as the way they organize and present the information they have and / or provide the support services (e.g. via web, telephone, personal meetings and so on).

1.3 The infrastructure, the organization, the rules and the operating procedures (logistics, human resources, organization charts, software, databases, communication protocols, etc.).

  1. Any possible gaps, inefficiencies or duplications of existing structures, regarding their deliverables (information and support services), based on both the perception of the institutions themselves, and the perception of undertaking business.
  2. Proposing of solutions (in the form of guidelines and options) to optimize the current situation within the existing institutional framework and according to current responsibilities of the various stakeholders, which result in proposals accompanied by ex-ante evaluation for forms of cooperation and coordination of the related institutions, as well as organizational solutions to address the fragmentation of service, to ensure systems’ interoperability and to provide consistent and easily understandable and usable information.

The targeted population in regard to companies, formed with the methodology of stratified sampling, taking as parameters the geo location, the activity and the degree of extroversion (export or potential export), amounted to 1.500 companies. Regarding both public and private sector’s institutions, selected by census method, resulting in a total of 150 organisms. To the conducted fieldwork responded, by completing the corresponding questionnaire, 56 public and private sector’s institutions and 316 enterprises, both potential exporters and exporters, in a ratio of 30%-70%.

Regarding the entities surveyed public bodies in percentage 64.66% and private operators in percentage 35.35%, with a stratified distribution of all regions of the country. The majority of the sample at a rate of 67.01%, provided both online information and support services Helpdesk type services and only online information services provided by the 19.59% single type Helpdesk services provided only to 13.40%.

Concerning the businesses, companies from all market sectors took the survey, in percentage 27.76% of the primary, 58.61% of the secondary and 13.62% of the tertiary. The activity of these enterprises was either exporting at a rate of 70.28% or potentially exporting at a rate of 29.72%. As far as it is concerned the exporters, the export rate of participation in their turnover occurs tabulated below:

Sector Rate
Primary 27,76%
Secondary 58,61%
Tertiary 13,62%

 

Activity Rate
Exporting 70,28%
Potential Exporting 29,72%
Total 100%

 

Subsequently, are presented together business’ and institutions’ proposals, in order to improve the current state of information infrastructure for exporters and potential exporters in Greece.

Business’ Suggestions
Percentage How could, at your discretion, to improve the information infrastructure and information services of the institutions which are designed to assist existing and potential export business in Greece?
33,76% Coordinate stakeholders to address the fragmentation of the provided web services.
27,31% Staffing of existing institutions with experienced staff and expertise segment.
21,77% Design new integrated online information system and Helpdesk support service type based on existing responsibilities of the various stakeholders.
7,60% Reorganization of existing institutions in order to provide easily understandable and usable information.
6,83% Ensure interoperability of information systems of existing institutions.
2,70% Other
Institutions’ Suggestions
Please provide your opinions / suggestions for upgrading the services of existing institutions, using different forms of cooperation and coordination (eg interoperability systems, etc.)
1 Prediction for adopting a single methodology – Common communication protocol – by all Institutions on the dissemination of information and the way of guidance / communication stakeholders.
2 Create a “knowledge centre” in order to enable business intelligence (Business Intelligence tools) for the management, presentation and analysis of data in order to facilitate timely, reliable and efficient decision-making and multimedia technologies such as export procedures, preparation for participation in international exhibitions, business missions etc., educational material. Access to subscriber business information databases, etc.
3 Existence in the under-construction extroversion platform of structured information, regarding the progress / prospects of specific sectors, mechanisms for strengthening extroversion (grants-funding) and recoverable elements in the international environment.

 

Among their suggestions, and also during our research, emerged, gathered, studied and tabulated below, several good foreign practices that could be applied in our country too.

Important are the findings of the investigation, regarding to the information needs and preferences that institutions believe they cover, in relation to the significance which give to them the export business. Although for companies the most important topics for which seeking information via the web information institutions or via helpdesk-type services are: the demand by product and by country, the competition by product and by country, finding importers (or agents) who are interested for certain products and the knowledge of the trade price, institutions who participated this research said that they do not sufficiently address the specific needs and business preferences. According to statistical analysis of the data, the largest shortcoming by institutions is located in knowledge in commodity prices and an awareness of consumer prices. Partially covered only the most critical business information needs, including the demand by product and by country, finding importers or agents and competition by product and by country.

In contrast, institutions who took the survey, thought to sufficiently cover the following main needs and information preferences of export business: information on exhibitions and special events per product, technical support for participation in fairs and events and funding opportunities (grants, lending, etc.). Finally, they thought to cover on a satisfactory range the information related to the bureaucratic export procedures per country and the ways of payment / recovery of export products. The thing is that these topics which adequately covered by the institutions, are not assessed as sufficiently important to companies and ranked lower in the list of their information preferences / needs, creating a gap that justifies the fact that business choose not to address to relevant public and private information institutions for exports.

Recruitment of additional and properly trained personnel is considered by the participants in research institutions that should be the first priority in order to optimize the existing situation. Followed in order of preference, the upgrading of infrastructure, hardware and software, and the change of organizational structure.

On the other hand, they don’t believe that they can help in this direction any changes in the institutional framework or any changes in the statutes of institutions. All in all, the suggestions made concerning the following main areas:

  • Upgrading the portal Agora Foreign Ministry and enriched with more features / applications to become “knowledge centre” and upgrade the Helpdesk service by providing accessibility to subscriber business information databases.
  • Recruitment of qualified staff
  • Training, education, seminars for existing staff in information structures
  • Financial support of organizations
  • Operation of a focal institution, with the participation of the private sector, with free services and digital information and support via portal.

In regard to the views / suggestions of respondents to upgrade the services of existing institutions using different forms of cooperation and coordination, the following were made:

  • Upgrading the central platform AGORA with full information of all stakeholders
  • Interconnection of existing registers
  • Organising joint and targeted business missions with the Enterprise Greece
  • Conducting informative seminars and workshops to exchange views and knowledge transfer
  • Joint participation of entities in targeted exhibitions abroad
  • Consulting services / training candidates exporters
  • Enhancing interoperability and upgrading of existing information systems in the light of the creation of a common and reliable database

Finally, as a prerequisite for the development of a new integrated online information system and support services (helpdesk) of Greek export business survey respondents reported the creation of a central body free electronic information – support.

To answer such basic evaluative questions as raised in Exploratory Study regarding the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and sustainability compiled a list compiles the suggested solutions (in the form of guidelines and options) on two pillars – individual actions A.1 . “Creating an information system and web portal extroversion” and A.2 .: “Helpdesk Service” Action Plan for the Promotion of Exports examining critical activities in concrete – requirements while forming a transition road map in the information system and web portal extroversion.

A.1 .: “Creation of information system and web portal extroversion”

IT infrastructure development and ensure interconnectivity Compatibility existing information systems

Interoperability information internal environment system (MOF) and the international environment (MFA)

Good practice in other EU Member States (Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland)

Greek actors Proposals (SEVE, SEV, PSE, ACCI)

Understanding Processing cooperation public / private providers extroversion services Determination extroversion providers

Development stakeholders work-sharing proposals

Develop operational and support processes of the information system -diadiktyakis extroversion portal

work-sharing Memorandum of Understanding Signed between extroversion providers

 

A.2 .: «Helpdesk Service»

Determination of content and services Content Determination with respect to the emergence of fields not covered, friendliness and needs as recorded by operators and businesses.

Harnessing expertise and best practices from the Helpdesk systems in other EU Member States on the content and structure.

Determination of service evaluation processes (such as response time) of the various Helpdesk service providers.

Determination of mode and information infrastructure Finalize work sharing between partners

Harnessing expertise and best practices from the Helpdesk systems in other EU Member States in terms of staffing and sustainability

Checking the technical compatibility between the new and existing Helpdesk,

Integration of Helpdesk services to Web portal extroversion.