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C-Satélite - e-Commerce Satellite Account
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Period : 10 / 2003 - 10 / 2005
Budget : 55000 euros
Budget cesga: 35000 euros
Responsible : Ramón Basanta

Description :

The main objective of this project is to facilitate the creation of a global information system about e-commerce in Galicia. It will systematically attend the main economic and social agents’ needs.

For these purposes we have started from the Satellite Account concept defined in the United Nations National Accounts System 1993 and adapting its principles to the Galician statistical state of the art.

The concept of the Satellite Account is relatively new and its concrete application to the electronic commerce has not been tackled before by any organisation. Some international institutions (OCDE, EUROSTAT) have set up working groups with the aim of developing a system relating to Information Society. However there has not been any systematic approach from the regional point of view so far.

This project tries to give a response to the principles and demands settled at the Ley de Estadística de Galicia and Plan Galego de Estadistica (2002-2006), allowing the results to be integrated in the system. Those principles are: consistency, reliability, up-to-date, efficiency, inconvenience smoothness and warranty of the statistical secret.

Therefore, the work will be divided in four main areas:

1 - Description and diagnosis of the electronic commerce statiscal system. This will be based on an inventory of statiscal operations.
2 - Evaluation of social and economic agents’ information needs. This will be made trough institutional interviews and discussion groups
3 - Methodological pre-design based on the related results and documents
4 - First application of the results through the realisation and exploitation of a survey addressed to the enterprises (1.100 interviews).

Antecedents, justification of the project, state-of-the-art

Although different organisations have developed singular initiatives in the last years, a phenomenon of such an importance as the New Economy and the Information Society (and electronic commerce in particular) has not at present any available quantitative information sources. There exist, however, some operations of a partial nature.

To tackle this situation it is absolutely necessary to develop an integrated system. This system ought to be adapted to the public and private agents real information needs, coherent with the whole existing information and in accordance with the international standards on statistics.

The Plan Galego de Estadística 2002-2006 has among its objectives the creation of new input-output charts, which will constitute satellite accounts on different topics still to be decided. From our point of view, the impact of the Information and Communication Technologies in the socio-economic system should be included in the related contents.

New realities need new approaches. This is the basis of the concept of a Satellite Account. Satellite Accounts, according to the UN “underline the need of expanding the analytical abilities of the National Accounts to certain areas of social interest, in a flexible manner and without overloading or weakening the central system”. In other words, the limitations of the current framework for the analysis of certain topics recommend the development of complementary instruments for specific needs.

The Satellite Accounts are to be the response to these considerations. They will provide a greater degree of detail where needed; will simplify the system where superfluous details come up and will widen the current frame by adding non-monetary information and modifying some basic concepts.

From this point of view it must be understood that the concept “satellite” is closely connected with the central framework. Therefore, according to EUROSTAT, “the satellite account maintains all the concepts and classifications of the central frame. Changes are only made where required by the specific objectives of the Satellite Account. In these cases a table should be included in the Satellite Account showing the relation between the main attachments to this account and the central framework ones.

This statement means that the Satellite Statement only can be understood as an Integrated Information System about certain topic. Thus, when analysing this topic, its main features must be in a coherent relation with the central framework, must be adapted to the analytical needs of the targeted area and must have continuity enough.

Therefore, it does not exist a generic manual guiding the elaboration of the Satellite Accounts. Every area of research needs a different approach, which implies an initial study of the information needs not covered by the central framework.

This R+D+i project aims to fill the lack of a methodological framework, as well as testing a first application of the results.

As far as the Account System is concerned, Galicia has played an important role for the last twelve years, which has not always had the sufficient recognition abroad. IGE’s Galicia Input-Output Tables 1990 laid the foundations for the development of an especially complete Accounts System, which derived in the countable series 1990-1994 y 1995-2000.

Galicia Economic Accounts are, since their first estimation, the main reference within the economic system in Galicia. It includes a detailed account of goods and services, showing the economic adjustment between offer and demand (with 66 areas of activity).

In addition to this we have at our disposal de new Input-Output Chart. It is about 1998 and is adapted to the new accounting system SEC/1995. As a consequence, it must be pointed that we are in an ideal situation concerning the access to a central framework in monetary terms.

In the same way, some other initiatives have been developed in our region (Observatorio TIC, Observatorio Urbano Eixo Atlántico, Observatorio del Comercio Electrónico de Galicia, etc.). The results of these previous works will be indeed of interest for the present project, obtaining reciprocal benefits from the results of our project too.

There are some other international initiatives working at present in the definition of a framework with regards to the Information Society statistics. EUROSTAT, for example, has constituted several working groups in collaboration with the OCDE, becoming a reference organisation in this field. However there are not regional approaches with a global scope. In general, the regions have opted to establish a more limited structure, setting solely the definition of a basic system of indicators.

From the stated, it can be concluded that this is an extraordinary new project, not only in the Spanish statistical scene, but also in the European. This innovative nature, together with the importance of the social and economic changes the ICT are causing, justifies the opportunity of the project. This also anticipates the technical complexity of the work to be done, due to the absence of a methodological reference similar to the pretended goals.

That is the reason why the proposed project is exclusively focused on the analysis of the social and economic implications of e-commerce, with the objective of laying the foundations for the development of a system with a broader scope.

Concrete objectives and interest

Four basic objectives can be stressed for this project:

1. To develop an information system describing the e-commerce phenomenon with a wider scope, constituting the mainstay for the establishment of a more complete system: the Information Society and Knowledge Economy Satellite Account. This system must cover the four areas of interest defined by EUROSTAT (technological, entrepreneurial, economic and social) and be fully integrated with the Galician Economic Accounts System and the rest of operations considered in the Plan Galego de Estadística.

2. To adequate the system to the real demands of information from the different statistical information users in Galicia. The ultimate objective of the statistical system is to allow the social and economic agents a better knowledge of the reality and to facilitate the undertaking of their decisions. In the same way, we believe that every technical development must take into account the final destiny of the information that has been produced.

3. To guarantee the coherence and systematic nature of the set of indicators and magnitudes.

4. To guarantee the perfect bond and integration with the rest of the statistical system of Galicia. The unpredictable nature of the transformations, due to the ITC development and the need of continuous adaptation to new conditions, is the basis of the demand of an integrated system that must be able to respond quickly enough to the requests of the different agents. Every piece of information should be capable of being connected with each other, in other words, it must exist methodological homogeneity.

These objectives are summed up in the following milestones of the Work plan:

1. Inventory of statistical operations related to e-commerce. (Database)
2. Report on Galicia e-commerce statistical system.
3. Report on statistical demands of information related to e-commerce from the different economic and social agents.
4. Final report evaluating the Galician Statistical System and its adaptation to the demands of information from the Galician society.
5. Methodological framework of reference for the creation of an Electronic Commerce Satellite Account. This would allow its recognition as a specific operation within the Plan Galego de Estatística.
6. First results restricted to a set of economic activities.

Applicability and usability of the expected results

1. Inventory of statistical operations related to e-commerce.
The objective is to have a detailed and homogeneous description of the existing information related to e-commerce in Galicia and its main features. Apart from the need of this database for the development of the project, this result would allow to the users a better utilization and management of the statiscal information available.

2. Report on Galician statistical system of e-commerce.
It will permit to assess the adaptation of the system to the generally accepted criteria and definitions. In the same manner, its utility would be restricted to those institutions which are producers of statistics, allowing them to evaluate its production on the basis of the criteria established by the international organisations.

3. Report on statistical demands of information related to e-commerce from the different economic and social agents.
It allows the design of a system adapted to the real needs of the Galician society. From this point of view, it is a partial result of the project, but necessary for the fulfilment of the basic principles included in the Ley de Estatística de Galicia and Plan Galego de Estatística.

4. Final report evaluating the Galician Statistical System and its adaptation to the demands of information from the Galician society.
It consists on a basic instrument for the planning of the statistical activity.

5. Methodological framework of reference for the creation of an Electronic Commerce Satellite Account, that would allow its recognition as an specific operation within the Plan Galego de Estatística.
It is the main and more innovative result of the project. Its main usefulness is the design of a global information system on electronic commerce in Galicia, adapted to the international conventions and the requirements of the Galician society. It will also be methodologically integrated with the Galician Statistical System.

6. First results restricted to a set of economic activities.
This work will be very useful to facilitate the later design of great scale operations by the statistical responsible.

Methodology, hypothesis, work plan and chronogram

During the last years the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) has developed an intense activity promoting the creation of Tourism Satellite Accounts in different countries. As a result of this effort such accounts are the ones that have an internationally accepted and UN endorsed methodological framework. However, the WTO work has not just been focused in the methodological recommendations, but also the operative ones; thus, they are in many cases applied to slightly different cases.

In order to base the decision of implementing and developing a Satellite Account, the WTO has established four necessary instruments: a description of the statistical system, a diagnosis of the statistical system; a feasibility study of the Satellite Account and a pilot project of the Satellite Account.

However, in the Information Society Satellite Account, due to the lack of a methodological framework of reference, it is necessary to add two instruments: an analysis of the information needs from the agents that are going to be potential users of the information (public organisations, enterprises, etc.) and the definition of a provisional methodological framework guiding the evolution of the works.

Therefore, the work plan can be divided into four stages:

First stage: Description and diagnosis of the statistical system

Objective: To get an inventory of statistical operations related to e-commerce and an assessment of their adaptation to the international conventions and the central framework specifications. In the same way, the information gaps of this system will be evaluated.
Methodological approach: For each of the four defined areas (technological, entrepreneurial, economic and social) a database of statistical operations would be created, identifying among other things the organisation responsible for it, the periodicity of the operation, the considered variables, the techniques used on its realisation (with evaluation of the sample of reference), the temporary gap in the presentation of the results and their reliability.
Deadline: Three months (from the start of the work)
Expected results: Inventory of operations (database); global report on information needs.
Responsible: Area managers.

Second Stage: Assessment on information needs

Objective: To know the real demands of information related to e-commerce by the Galician statistical information users.
Methodological approach: In order to identify economic and social agent needs’ open interviews will be made and discussion groups will be organized. In particular a maximum of 60 interviews to public institutions responsible are foreseen, as well as discussion groups (a maximum of 10) with the rest of the economic and social agents (sectorial associations, consumers, social interlocutors etc.).
Deadline: Three months (form the end of the first stage).
Expected results: Global report on information needs. Summary Report (derived from the results obtained in the first and second stages) on the adaptation of the information needs to the state-of-the-art of the Galician statistical system.
Responsible: Area managers

Third Stage: Methodological pre-design

Objective: Establishment of a provisional framework of reference for the creation of the Electronic Commerce Satellite Account.
Methodological approach: To obtain In order to coordinate the results of the previous stages with the specifications of the central framework a Framework Document will be obtained
Expected results: Methodological framework
Responsible: Main researcher, Area Managers.

Fourth Stage: First application of the results.

Objective: To test the problems of applicability in a defined test-bed. Through the design of a statistical operation the results restricted to certain areas of activity will be obtained.
Methodological approach: Realisation of a survey (a sample with 1.100 units approximately) on the offer and demand conditions regarding e-commerce, as defined by the OCDE. The requested information will be adapted to the PGC structure with the aim of making the answer gathering easier and to facilitate its integration in the central framework. (There is a clear correspondence between the SEC/95 and PGC concepts).
The operation will be based on the principles of Plan Galego de Estatística (coherence, reliability, up-to-date, efficiency, bother reduction to the informer units and guarantee of the statistical secret). These principles are essential so as to ensure the adaptation to the system.

Two sub-stages can be differenced in this phase:

Sample design: Commended to the team in charge
Questionnaire design: Commended to the survey agents.
Fieldwork: Includes launching, collecting, recording, control and work inspection.

Exploitation of results.
Final reports: Results report, incidences report and first results.
Deadline: 6 months (from the end of the second and third stage)
Expected results: Set of tables defined in the methodological framework
Responsible: Research team, field team.

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