DD2320 London Technology Acceleration Service

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2320
Date signed: 
29 January 2019
Decision by: 
Lucy Owen, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

On 1 November, the LEAP Programme Board endorsed expenditure of £75,000 on supplies and services to increase adoption of cutting-edge technologies amongst SMEs in London’s ‘everyday economy’.

The project responds to a need expressed in response to the consultation on the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy – which called for more support for SME adoption of new technologies. As London develops its Local Industrial Strategy, it is vital to harness the city’s leadership in technology, which can be a key driver of inclusive growth in all sectors, as long as they are given the right support, such as this investment aims to.

The London Technology Acceleration Service will help companies in sectors such as social care, hospitality, retail, leisure and entertainment, construction and others to understand the benefits to their companies in terms of productivity, sales and security. It will achieve this through an online diagnostic tool, a curated list of technology vendors with SME-appropriate descriptors, an ‘ROI calculator’ and a series of technology demonstration events.

Decision

The Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves:

Expenditure of £75,000 on supplies and services required to deliver the London Technology Acceleration Service.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

SMEs in London’s ‘everyday economy’ – including sectors such as retail, hospitality, tourism, construction, health and social care – suffer from both lower productivity and lower investment in productivity-enhancing technologies.

High-tech, data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, cyber security and IoT (internet-of-things) have been recognised as having the potential to bring significant productivity increases – according to an independent Government report , by as much as 30% in some sectors.

Adoption of these technologies is low amongst SMEs because in addition to making the necessary decisions for investment in technology, these technologies are poorly understood and SMEs do not have the ability to calculate an ROI or understand the products currently available to them.

At the LEAP meeting held on 18.09.18, LEAP endorsed the Paper ‘Building on London’s Lead in Artificial Intelligence’, which recommended the creation of an ‘adoption service’ aimed at SMEs in the ‘everyday economy’.

The London Technology Acceleration Service (working title) will bridge the knowledge gap for high-tech productivity-enhancing products and services, and equip London’s SMEs with the knowledge and information they require to make a decision on whether to adopt new technologies.

The LTAS will take the form of an online tool, hosted on the London Growth Hub, which, through a basic logic flow will suggest a series of treatments, aimed at informing SMEs about new technology products relevant to their needs.

These treatments will take the form of:

- A curated list of technology vendors, along with clear and standardised information on their use-case and cost;

- An ROI calculator, which will allow SMEs to directly ascertain how long it will take for each given tech product to represent a return on investment for them, based on current projections;

- Case-studies tailored to the SMEs and their industry sector, demonstrating how different technologies have been successfully implemented in comparable companies; and

- A series of at least 4 technology demonstrator events to engage SMEs in different technology areas and offer 1-2-1 sessions with technology vendors to showcase how the technology can support their business model.

This proposal was agreed by the LEAP Programme Board on 1 November 2018.

The ambition is for LTAS to be the broker of a functioning and trusted marketplace for high-tech products and services aimed at SMEs in London’s everyday economy.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Overview of the project:

 

The LTAS will create an engagement, information and signposting service aimed at giving SMEs in London’s ‘everyday economy’ access to the best new technologies in AI, IoT, cyber security and other technology areas. The technologies that will be supported will be mature and offer substantial productivity gains tailored to SMEs in different industry areas. The aim is to address the current low adoption rates due to the lack of understanding of these technologies, and inability to calculate an ROI on investment in high-tech products and services.

 

The activities comprising this project will be delivered primarily by the GLA, through the Growth Hub. However, we will go to tender for expertise in delivering the standardised tech vendor list in order to match business need with technology vendor, and we will seek an external designer to create tailored case study templates to demonstrate use cases.

 

The events will take place in City Hall subject to space availability, and we will seek external space and sponsorship for events where possible.

 

The principle beneficiaries will be SMEs operating across London’s everyday economy. We define this as including (but not necessarily limited to) retail, hospitality, tourism, health and social care and construction.

 

The LTAS is a scalable pilot. The funding, as set out below, will establish the basis of a service which can be expanded to cover a greater number of technology areas and to target a greater number of sectors. The ambition is that the LTAS will become the marketplace for high-tech products and services aimed at SMEs in London’s everyday economy. The model also has the potential to become sustainable over the long-term and self-funded through the use of technology vendor referral fees.

 

These objectives will be achieved through the following outputs,

 

Output Description

 

Output measure

Technology demonstrator events, with 121 sessions with technology vendors

 

  • 4 events
  • 50 SME attendees at each event

Online ROI calculator and triage tool

 

  • 100 SMEs registered and signed up

Creation of case studies template, and development by tech vendors

 

  • At least 10 case studies, developed in partnership with tech vendors,
  • Downloaded by 100 SMEs.

Curation of a list of high-tech vendors, plus standardised profile of product, use case, target industry, cost and cost structure

 

  • We will aim to have 30 tech vendors listed, with key information points covering their products and information

 

The table below sets out how the funding will be used:

 

 

 Cost: 

Amount: 

Delivered by: 

Events and Marketing

£10,000 

GLA 

Web development including ROI        Calculator 

£7,000 

GLA / Growth Hub 

Creation of curated supplier methodology and list 

£55,000 

External supplier to be competitively tendered

Design for standardised ‘case study’  

£3,000 

External designer 

Total: £75,000 

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities are enshrined within the GLA’s programmes and activities according to the Mayor’s Framework for Equal Life Chances (June 2014) and the Mayor’s draft Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.

As part of the work of the Growth Hub (as described in MD2359) officers have committed to hold a series of roundtables with BAME, LGBT and disabled women to establish the barriers to business growth faced by these groups. The findings of these roundtables will input and inform project design. Moreover, The events, and the preparation for the events will include work to establish what barriers exist with regard to technology adoption amongst SMEs led by individuals with protected characteristics.

The online information provided as part of the programme will sit alongside the wider Growth Hub offering, which includes specific events for women, BAME and other under-represented groups.

As part of the service, information will be provided on the forthcoming Mayor’s Good Work Standard, which will help employers find information on how companies can make their workplaces more friendly to those with protected characteristics.

Other considerations

Key Risks and Issues

 

The below risk register outlines the major risks to the project:

 

Risk

Owner

Probability

Impact

Mitigation

 

Resource is underutilised

Senior Policy Officer Technology / Growth Hub

Low

Medium

In order to ensure the maximum ROI in terms of companies using the service, we will reach out to partner organisations, sector-specific and small business-focussed media.

Low adoption rates

Senior Policy Officer Technology / tech companies

Low

Medium

We will ensure that the technologies and vendors listed are at the correct price point, and have had proven success in comparable instances. We will also monitor through voluntary surveys, rates of adoption.

Tech vendors are unable to deal with number of referrals

 

Senior Policy Officer Technology / tech companies

Low

Medium

We will ensure that the vendors listed are able to cope with a spike in demand, and structure the referrals in the most efficient manner possible (i.e. gathering relevant information online).

 

 

Market making

 

The list technology vendors is necessary to overcome the lack of SME-appropriate information which exists in the market. Providing standardised and easy to understand information to the market will help overcome the lack of knowledge many SMEs have, and the inability to calculate ROI effectively on new investments.

 

​​​​​​​However, we will be clear that the GLA does not warrant or endorse any particular products, services or services.

 

​​​​​​​The list of companies will remain open to new entrants.

 

Links to Mayoral Strategies and Priorities

  1. The public consultation response to the Mayor’s draft Economic Development Strategy raised the need for business support cross sector to raise awareness of the potential impacts of and opportunities provided by disruptive technology on their future business and to provide support to apply some of these new technologies. The LTAS is a direct response to the expression of this need. This proposal also responds to the Industrial Strategy, which called on all LEPs to do more to boost productivity locally and nationally.

 

  1. The aim of the LTAS is to ensure that all companies operating across London’s lower value sectors can access productivity enhancing technologies. At the same time, the programme will create new markets for London’s technology suppliers, growing London’s technology sector as a whole.

LTAS also builds on London: The AI Growth Capital of Europe, as this project will help drive market creation for AI vendors in London, further boosting the capital’s AI sector – the majority of whom themselves are SMEs.

 

New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT (the Internet of Things), augmented reality – and in the future, blockchain – will drive productivity across London’s economy, however there are also concerns about the impact of these technologies on jobs. The focus of the LTAS is on use cases which will augment the value of existing workers rather replace workers through automation. By raising productivity it is hoped that firms will be supported to raise wages and working conditions.

 

All vendors taking part in the LTAS will be provided with information and support to access the Mayor’s Good Work Standard.  

 

Staffing and capacity

 

This project will be managed and delivered by the Senior Policy Officer for Technology and the Senior Policy Officer for Technology - Delivery. The work dovetails well into other work ongoing – for instance the BEIS Business Basics project, meaning there will be an economy of scale in terms of officer time.

 

Support, clearance and governance will be provided by the Industry & Innovation team manager, the Assistant Director for Regeneration and Economic Development, and the Head of Economic Development.

Financial comments

The estimated cost of £75,000 for this project will be funded from the LEAP Strategies budget for 2019-20 subject to the 2019-20 budget process currently underway.

Officers will seek match funding to scale the project in terms of content and outreach to companies in London, including sponsorship income where applicable. If secured, this and the associated expenditure will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Director Decision

January 2019

Announcement:

The Mayor made a soft announcement of the intention in November 2018 alongside the publication of the EDS.

Procurement of contract:        

Feb 2019

Launch

March 2019

Delivery Start Date

April 2019

Delivery End Date:

Feb 2020


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