IT-related service providers consisting of knowledge-intensive and ITC service providers have been very innovative during the past twelve months. About 39 per cent of the companies have expanded their services by accessing, for instance, new customer groups or market segments. Approximately 34 per cent have differentiated their offering by changing, for example, service times or complementing their offer and 20 per cent of the companies have standardised their services. These are the findings of an economic survey conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim in cooperation with Creditreform, Neuss. The survey was conducted in June 2008 among service providers of the information society.

Innovation activities are very important to service providers of the information society in order to maintain their competitiveness. The impulses for innovations have various sources. “According to about 90 per cent of the companies of the interviewed branches that have been innovative in the past twelve months, the management is the most important driving force behind innovations”, explains Jenny Meyer, ZEW researcher. “Customers with their wishes and suggestions are, according to 65 per cent of the companies, the second most important source for changes in service.” Employees are ranked third most important driving force for innovative changes by about 56 per cent of the companies. Approximately 52 per cent of the companies have been encouraged to take part in the innovation process by market developments and competitors. Legislative changes may also lead to renewed services. However, only 23 per cent of the IT-related service providers consider legislative changes the source of the innovations introduced in the past twelve months.

Even if the importance of the different sources of innovation are assessed similarly among knowledge-intensive and ITC service providers, employees as driving force for innovation play a more significant role for ITC service providers (about 65 per cent) than for knowledge-intensive service providers (about 53 per cent). The latter though attaches greater importance to market observations and competitors (about 53 per cent) in terms of driving innovations than do the ITC service providers (about 48 per cent).

The economic survey conducted by ZEW/Creditreform

Approximately 1000 companies participated in the survey which is conducted on a quarterly basis. The economic sector IT-related service providers consists of information and communication technology (ICT) service providers (businesses of the branches software and IT services, ICT specialised trade and telecommunication services) and knowledge-intensive service providers (businesses of the branches tax consultancy and accounting, business consultancy, architectural offices, technical consultancy and planning, research and development and advertising). An overview of the ZEW/Creditreform business survey is provided on the ZEW project site. For further information in German language only, please consult our homepage at

Note on statistical projections

The Centre for European Economic Research generates a representative analysis for the surveyed sector based on the answers provided by the participating firms.


Dr. Jenny Meyer, E-mail:




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