In the first implementation phase (2002/03), e-Business [email protected] covered fifteen sectors of the economy, seven from manufacturing industries and eight from service industries, including the two financial services sectors. The aggregation of NACE categories of business activity into "sectors" partly followed aggregations which are also used by the "Panorama of European Businesses" publication of Eurostat. The configuration was primarily guided by the aim of producing results relevant to tracking the dynamics of the economy as a whole as well as with the intention of covering the most important features of e-business provision and adoption in Europe.
In the second phase (2003/04), 10 sectors of the economy were covered, 5 from manufacturing and 5 from service industries. The specific selection was primarily based on the economic importance of the various sectors for the European economy and the relative importance of electronic business within the sector, as well as on secondary criteria (including the balance of business activities, the SME dimension and the policy relevance with respect to the responsibilities of the client).
The rather broad aggregation of different business activities into sectors made it possible to cover a broad spectrum of the economy, but also caused some challenges for the analysis of e-business developments. For instance, it was hardly possible to focus down on individual sub-sectors in much detail within a single sector report. As a consequence, reviewers of specific sector studies raised concerns whether the level of aggregation was too high.
The selection and definition of sectors for the 2004/05 period reflected these concerns. In fact, four out of the ten sectors covered were sub-sectors that had been part of (aggregated) sectors analysed in previous periods. The rationale for "zooming in" on former sub-sectors was that a broad picture for the "whole sector" was available from previous sector studies, and that it appeared to be the right time within the life-cycle of e-Business [email protected] to focus the analysis on more specific business activities.
For 2005/06 the same principle was applied as in 2004/05, i.e. focusing on specific segments within industries that were covered in a different (broader) configurations in previous implementation phases.