The Internet is already changing the way in which enterprises operate, cooperate and interoperate with other enterprises. NEFFICS is based on the hypothesis that Internet and Web based technologies can be leveraged not only to increase efficiency, but also to strengthen the value proposition of enterprises by adding incremental value (incremental innovation) as well as creating game-changing value (radical innovation). In this respect, NEFFICS considers the Internet as a universal business system which enables value generation in enterprises by collaborating in open knowledge innovation zones (i.e. networked enterprises).
Value creation through innovation lies at the heart of the project. Already, there is a movement towards a broader concept of value creation beyond economic value, and defining new measurements for success beyond economic performance. For example, enterprises of the future will need to embrace the different perspectives of sustainability, because of customer demands and image, cost of raw material associated with natural resources, and likely regulatory developments that target specific environmental and social practices undertaken by enterprises. Such practices will increasingly have economic consequences and impact on the balance sheet of businesses.
By the same token, enterprises will increasingly expect and demand ICT to meet a broader set of business objectives, other than cost reduction and efficiency improvement. ICT will need to support a new form of innovation so that growth is not purely profit-driven in the short term, but a sustainable value creation engine. The entire economic paradigm for business may change in the long run, leading to a fundamental transformation of how businesses are capitalised, assets are determined, stakeholders are involved; in short, a transformation of the notion of enterprises and therefore also the understanding of an approach to business models. Management of innovation is becoming a core concern, and business application innovation has to keep pace with and directly support business innovation.
Traditional IT, and in particular ERP, does not adequately support transformation, management of knowledge work and participation in or management of networked enterprises. A new class of IT platforms, so-called Business Operation Platforms (BOP) is emerging, and is better suited for these tasks. A BOP provides real-time connectivity in distributed environment, based on Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) in an Internet of Services context of the Future Internet. It supports effective analysis through models and rapid implementation of change, partly by enabling application modularization and re-use through web services, and partly by adopting the paradigm of “what you model is what you execute“. BOP can be considered as the operating system to manage the business, from the cloud. As “cloud” stands for on-demand IT resources, at low cost, via the Internet, this will enable SMEs also to make full use of BOP. The cloud is also the natural place to position the “business arena” in which participants will join in innovating and operating their networked enterprise business. Cloud-based infrastructures will further contribute to improving ecological sustainability, through “green IT”, as cloud-based deployment is associated with less overall energy consumption, reduced need for ICT equipment and reduced disposal of hardware. In summary, such infrastructures open up new value proposition and business opportunities for enterprise networks, which NEFFICS will address.
 See definition provided in the FInES Cluster Position Paper (page 13), published by the European Commission, ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/ict/docs/enet/20090901-fines-position-paper_en.pdf