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European Consulting Network (ECN)

Although European Union service procurement at the central level amounts to over EUR 20 billion per year, the structure of this procurement is fragmented and frequently unusable. Navigator developed and launched European Consulting Network (ECN), an online business intelligence and cooperation platform, developing an innovative online marketingplace and cooperation platform.

www.ecn-eu.com

The European Consulting Network (ECN) is an online business intelligence platform which combines information on EU procurement and recruitment with a database of consultancies and consultants. In addition to European Union procurement, the platform enables various service providers to cooperate through publication of company subcontracting, recruitment and consortium notices, as well as an innovative social networking platform.

Philip Ammerman and Pambos Solomonides worked intensively for over 18 months to develop and launch the system.

In developing ECN, our objective is to improve the efficiency, transparency and absorption of EU funding while upgrading the status and competencies of service providers such as individual experts, consultants, universities, regional development organisations, and other actors in development.

ECN improves the process of EU procurement through the following methods:

EU procurement is fragmented. Although the EU procures over EUR 20 bln in consultancy services at the central level, there is no easy-to-use, standardised, common framework for analysing and receiving procurement notices. Consultancies have to actively monitor not only the Official Journal and European Commission sites, but also the sites of over 60 agencies and services and over 150 delegations.

ECN employs two analysts to scan over 200 sites every week to collect and assimilate EU central service procurement. We will gradually be expanding the range of agencies we cover to include the World Bank, UN System, and bilateral development aid providers.

EU procurement is time-consuming. Every major programme, such as Europeaid, Lifelong Learning Programme, or the Framework Policy for Research and Development, has its own format for procurement notices. It is not unusual for a consultant to review a 60-page document, in order to find a deadline on page 32 and a budget on page 37. This process in inherently inefficient and time-consuming.

ECN standardises all procurement notices from the EU central level in a common format. Our analysts upload all necessary procurement documents and web links. This enables an effective search and automated warning system for EU procurement notices.

EU procurement requires specialised expertise. Most projects require highly specialised expertise, sourced through individuals or companies.

ECN provides the most comprehensive online database for experts and consultancies, with an innovative system for evaluating individual and corporate references, uploading university degrees, and providing ready-made references and CVs in various formats. It is the only system with an “intelligent database”, enabling the statistical comparison of experts and companies based on the data they enter.

EU consultancy requires strong networking. It is difficult to keep track of contacts and associates, particularly when consultancy careers can last decades or more. There is no specialised, free community for service providers and experts working on EU projects.

ECN provides a free, innovative social networking platform. Similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, but fully-customised to the EU consultancy environment, ECN allows full social networking functions such as posting to wall, photo/document uploads, comments, and “friend finder” functions. It goes a step further, linking the social networking application with the reference and work statistics in our database, as well as allowing experts and companies to upload corporate profiles, CVs, reports, articles, degrees and other materials.