What's going on

SME and Data Quality GDPR and customer data in UK SMEs

It’s been over three years since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced. Since then, there have been plenty of headlines devoted to enterprise-level data breaches but very little on how SMEs have been fairing. Do they understand the GDPR and are they interpreting the legislation in the correct way? More than that, what is the quality of the data they hold and indeed, how do they store it?

REaD Group has published an article and a downloadable report about SME and data quality at https://readgroup.co.uk/research/sme-report/


Data Logging, Monitoring and Dashboarding for Manufacturing Machines

IXON has a great article about how to gain insights from industrial equipment, PLCs and robots with PLC monitoring. Manufacturers face many challenges. Except strong competition from globalization, they need to comply with strict industry regulations, reduce their environmental footprint, meet changing customer behaviour and much more. In order to meet all these conditions and still remain competitive, companies must address multiple requirements simultaneously. They have to adapt to changing conditions while meeting client expectations. Any deviation from these expectations results in a poor consumer experience and can create an opportunity for customers to move away.

Continuously improving machines and factory operations is thus of critical importance to manufacturers. But in order to quantify improvements, you have to be aware of your current machine performance. This is where PLC data logging and condition monitoring kicks in.

Read more at Xion.cloud


CYBERSECURITY – SELF-HELP STARTER KIT

What is the issue?

Cybersecurity. A threat to anyone who goes online or who has their data stored online. And the need to do things to protect yourself and how to do it are of concern to all SMEs.

Why does it matter?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes. It matters.

Who is providing this insight?

This is a quick and clear inline self-help exercise provided by Aalborg university and the NSRP-project Com3 It covers:

  • What is cybersecurity?
  • Why focus on cybersecurity?
  • Defensive cybersecurity
  • Deception systems
  • And a short quiz

Why may it matter for me?

At any time there is data about you, your organisation, the people you connect with that could be illegally accessed by hackers. This can be a great cost for a business. Cybersecurity is  complex at software level but a good deal easier to understand at management and operational level. This guide will encourage people in good practice.

What can I do next?

Take the course and do the quiz made by the Shreyas Srinivasa from Aalborg University! You find it here: COM³ Training solutions: Cybersecurity Readiness through Honeypots, Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme. Then contact The FBD Team who can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


DIGITAL ROAD-MAPPING

What is the issue?

Developing digital roadmaps help managers to explore and determine the direction of digital transformation for their organisations.

Why does it matter?

Digital transformation is a risky and uncertain journey, full of unexpected events, where important decisions rely on imperfect information.  

Developing a systematic digital roadmap helps create understanding:

  1. of the purpose of digitalisation
  2. how to attain digital skills
  3. of the resources needed to attain the digital transformation goals
  4. how to drive change

Who is providing this insight?

University of Groningen. White paper: Digital roadmapping

Why may it matter for me?

Although planning may seem ineffective in such uncertain and highly volatile settings,  digital road-mapping can be an important first step for success. While the desired  destination and strategies will differ per firm, carefully developing a roadmap - involving  the definition of goals, the exploration of alternative paths, and the implementation and  validation of selected digital initiatives - will help organizations to progress in their digital transformation journey in an effective and impactful manner.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


TAILORING YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY

What is the issue?

There are lots of ways to create a digital business strategy. This is a guide that helps manager to develop a strategy that will work in their set of circumstances.

Why does it matter?

Because the who of your industry is busy making steps in digitising every day and competitors will gain on those who are left behind.

Who is providing this insight?

University of Groningen. White paper: Tailoring the implementation of digital business

Why may it matter for me?

There is a lot for a business to consider – technologies available, stakeholder needs, skills of staff and finance being among them. These will all play a part in the art of the possible and how to devise a digital strategy – that is, a way to cope with changes in tech that impact on businesses. This guide is very helpful as it assumes everyone is starting at their own pint – so whoever you are, it will have some handy advice gained from research about SMEs and digital strategy.

The resulting framework supports an open dialogue with primary stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the project characteristics and match them with an appropriate strategy.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


The Internet of Things: A Guide for Small Businesses

What is the issue?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuously proving to enhance accessibility, competitiveness, and resilience of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). IoT paves the way towards the improvement of industrial operations and the digital transformation of traditionally analogue companies. As such, it is a key priority of the European Commission’s plan for the “twin transition” to a green and digital economy. Nonetheless, digital transformation and IoT adoption are still complex and costly.

Why does it matter?

Not all SMEs can afford or have the necessary requirements to make the leap. The Small Business Standards guide is an effort to provide small businesses with a lightweight guide to adopting industrial IoT solutions to digitalise and improve their operations.

Who is providing this insight?

DIGITAL SME, a member of Small Business Standards (SBS), the European stakeholder organisation representing SMEs in the standardisation arena, as per Annex III of EU Regulation 1025/2012. The full PPT guide is available on the HSKT store – HSKT 11.

Why may it matter for me?

This is a guide aimed at SMEs and is there to help them grow and increase productivity. SME Guide for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – Special focus on Security

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresabydesign.net


QUANTUM COMPUTING PART 1

What is the issue?

Quantum computing is here: it is already having a massive impact on the speed at which things can be calculated. Take a simple idea like investing in a company, selling goods, finding customers. With no computers this is, today, hard to imagine doing. With ordinary computers and search engines we can get a lot further. But what if we could gather almost all available data and then ask the question we want answered? Well, that’s where quantum computing begins to get you. So it is thought we will see much faster development of drugs as we examine data about diseases and remedies; maki e better investment decisions, revolutionise the way we run transport systems:

Quantum computing’s potential for significant speedup over classical computers1

Type of scaling    Time to solve problem 
Classical algorithm
with exponential runtime
10 secs 2 mins 330 years 3300 years Age of the universe
Quantum algorithm
with polynomial runtime
1 min 2 mins 10 mins 11 mins ~24 mins

Why does it matter?

Any company will have suppliers, clients, customers, competitors. Like all the other parts of the digital revolution, quantum computing will affect these, soon - even if not your company now.

Who is providing this insight?

Coming soon to your business – Quantum computing Five strategies to prepare for the paradigm-shifting technology is published by the IBM Institute for Business Value. A copy is available from the FBD HSKT Horizon Scan store

Why may it matter for me?

Because more and more of your competitors, suppliers, clients, customers will be either developing tools and processes benefitting for quantum computing, or being affected  by those used by their competitors, suppliers, clients, customers.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


The New Digital Edge: Rethinking Strategy for the Post-Pandemic Era

What is the issue?

Two things:

  1. A strategic approach to technology is now a necessity affecting all business
  2. many organizations could be missing opportunities to invest in the areas of their business models that are most at risk of digital disruption.

Why does it matter?

Because as mor and more  adopt new technology they will impact on the need to act.

Who is providing this insight?

Mckinsey and Company – take 10 minutes to read the full article at:  https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/ ckinsey-digital/our-insights/the-new-digital-edge-rethinking-strategy-for-the-postpandemic-era?cid=other-eml-dre-mip-mck&hlkid=a774e1a8976d4a078406df70a8406fd5&hctky=2529809&hdpid=fc3177a5-7534-4315-af56-b6f6eef5f827

Why may it matter for me?

It may not sound helpful to say that “Tech-savvy leadership helped set top performers apart—and will be even more valuable in the future” – as the report does, but it is the case that the levels are not fantastic and at this stage it is certainly not too late too start.

And the statement that: “The time is now for companies to make bold investments in technology and capabilities that will equip their businesses to outperform others” is reassuring – the time was not yesterday, but it won’ really be tomorrow, either. Acting now to establish what is ‘tech savvy’ leadership for you is a good next step.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

What is the issue?

For many, AI is bound to change the world as we know it and most people marvel at how governments and large corporations are using the technology. For SMEs, AI seems to be far removed from their daily activities. Moreover, AI seems to be portrayed mainly as a threat to their existence. But…AI-models provide ample opportunities for SMEs to add value to their business.

Why does it matter?

AI is developing fast and becoming more and more something that creates tools for all to use…you don’t any longer have to be Amazon to make AI work for you. And your competitors may already be getting involved.

Who is providing this insight?

Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosch, Holland. See the full paper at: https://futuresbydesign.net/horizon-scanning/

Why may it matter for me?

You may well be using it… Computer Vision, Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing are all AI techniques. You may well want to keep up with others who now use it for: Chatbots, Employee Training, Financial Administration, Customer Relationship Management (CRM). And you may well want to save costs as others are doing and / or improve system efficiency and impacts.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


DRONES

What is the issue?

Drones are also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), where the first part of its name already indicates why drones have such a vast number of possible use cases. Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that is either controlled remotely or flies autonomously based on onboard GPS sensors and a flight plan that is embedded in their system. Being unmanned, drones are able to make tasks more efficient by replacing or assisting a human task, or perform tasks that could not be done before to begin with.

Why does it matter?

Well, apart from the awesome shopping experience it could save companies a lot of money, as the delivery using an average diesel truck costs about 1 dollar a mile while a drone only costs 3 cents a mile. This makes the concept highly interesting for SMEs when the technology becomes public knowledge, which is likely to happen in the future as Google and DHL are also already researching it.

Who is providing this insight?

Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosche, Holland. See the full paper at: https://futuresbydesign.net/horizon-scanning/

Why may it matter for me?

Order fulfilment, warehouse operations, inspections and product delivery will be revolutionized by drone technology. Big steps in automation can be achieved while technology is more affordable than it was before. Data that was hard to collect before can now be collected in large numbers. It seems inevitable that adoption will grow over time and the drone industry will have an enormous impact on the world as it is. so make sure you stay up to date with any new developments that might impact your business

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


WEB SCRAPING

What is the issue?

Web scraping is the systematic and automated extraction of data from websites. By means of web scraping, companies can tap into one of the most significant data sources in existence: the internet.

Why does it matter?

On the internet, customers and competitors leave data on their behaviour, insights and interactions which can be useful for particular decisions a company is facing. It is a perfect data source for SMEs as it allows for efficient and cost-effective data acquisition.

Who is providing this insight?

Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosch, Holland. See the full paper at:  https://futuresbydesign.net/horizon-scanning/

Why may it matter for me?

Because more and more of your competitors are doing it and because it si simple to do with our 4 step guide:

  • Step 1: Identify a specific point of focus – what is a specific challenge within the  organization.
  • Step 2: Create an overview of which data you specifically need.
  • Step 3: Check whether it is allowed by the website to scrape the particular data – some sites ensure there is copy- or database right on the data they display.
  • Step 4: Use a particular scraping tool to gather the data as described in Step 2.  Examples of user-friendly tools are ParseHub and Scraping Bee.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


WHY BIG DATA MATTERS TO SMALL BUSINESSES

What is the issue?

Big Data means what it says – using vast amounts of data to work out and shape customer demand. Big companies can and do afford to sue it: and they shape the markets in which all companies operate. So, like it or not, big data is shaping your world.

Why does it matter?

Companies using BIG DAT gather information every time anyone does anything of interest to them – on their social media , via their APPs, through purchase and so on and so on. But BIG DATA starts as small data and the key is not really how much data, but how useful? Any company can start at its own level. Think: how many local cafes and pubs have been using social media cleverly during lockdowns to enable their business to thrive rather than die?

Who is providing this insight?

Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/05/20/why-small-business-can-no-longer-ignore-big-data/

Why may it matter for me?

Forbes outs it this way:

New technologies and other world events will always serve to create new data challenges for small business owners. Will you be ready? Remember, the ability to gather data from disparate sources and analyse it for strategic decision-making is the key to the gold mine. Your job is to get there before the competition.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you to get ahead of the competition. Contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


DIGITAL CURRENCIES

What is the issue?

‘Bitcoin’ is a word becoming more familiar. It is a toe of digital currency. Digital currencies are expanding very fast – they are ready to displace the currency systems we have been sued to for centuries

Why does it matter?

As digital currencies develop, just like so many things in the online world, there will come a point when what is new stops being used just by a few and becomes the norm.  

There was a time before the internet, emails, social media, online payments…the ones who were better informed about what was coming adapted better to these major changes. Here comes the world of digital currency.

Who is providing this insight?

Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosch, Holland. See the full paper at: https://futuresbydesign.net/horizon-scanning/

Why may it matter for me?

It may be the bigger companies that move first – but in their wake will have to come their customers and supply chains. So if there is a massive change ahead it as well to know what it is all about as soon as you can, and to begin to think of the way the changes will affect you.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


DATA CLUSTERING

What is the issue?

How to organise data so you can sue it better.

Why does it matter?

Companies that use their data for effective decision making are set to grow their business much faster than their competitors. Whether your company stores its data using excel sheets or a full database system doesn’t really matter. What matters is this:

Are you using your data to its full potential?

Who is providing this insight?

Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosch, Holland. See the full paper at:  https://futuresbydesign.net/horizon-scanning/

Why may it matter for me?

Clustering methods create groups out of the data points in your data, based on their similarity. This process finds structure in data that doesn’t have much structure by itself. That means that we could use it on almost any data that a small or big company has already lying around.

You can use the clustering results to ask valuable, pointed questions about the patterns and groups it has uncovered. This can have tremendous value for growing your business with actual data driven insights.

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


Data driving marketing, sales and growth

What is the issue?

The change in the way data is helping drive new approaches to marketing, sales and growth.

Why does it matter?

Because data driven marketing delivers competitive edge and more customers.

Who is providing this insight?

Mckinsey and Company – take 10 minutes to read the full article at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-big-reset-data-driven-marketing-in-the-next-normal?cid=soc-web#

Why may it matter for me?

“The big reset: Data-driven marketing in the next normal” does use examples of big companies accessing large amounts of (big) data, but the lessons are plain for all. The key ones are that any company:

    • has data – to be useful it needs to be stored, searched, clean
    • can develop its use of data from its own unique starting point
    • should be asking - what drives our customers’ decisions?
    • Can then better answer – what kinds of data might help us predict these decisions?

What can I do next?

The FBD Team can help you on your data-entrepreneurship journey contact us via www.futuresbydesign.net


External Newsletter, September 2021

External newsletter, September 2021


External Newsletter, June 2021

External Newsletter, June 2021


Four horizon scanning insights for SMEs

The project has published four papers with horizon scanning insights for SMEs.

Data driving marketing sales and growth, HSKT 001

Data clustering, HSKT002

Digital currencies, HSKT 003

Why big data matters to small businesses, HSKT 004


World Telecommunication Development Conference

Every four years, the International Telecommunication Union organizes the “ World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC)”  to set the strategies and objectives for the development of telecommunication/ICT, providing future direction and guidance to the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector at World level.

The next WTDC-21 will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 8-19 November 2021, is expected to develop innovative approaches and new models of collaboration for connectivity and digital solutions in this final Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The first in the series of regional preparatory meetings which will be held in all six ITU regions, The Europe Regional Preparatory Meeting for WTDC-21 (RPM-EUR), gathered more than 150 delegates from over 30 countries to progress their preparations for WTDC-21. A key output of RPM-Europe are proposals for regional priorities for digital development in Europe to be discussed and considered at WTDC-21.

Anglia Ruskin University submitted to the RPM-EUR meeting  a contribution titled  “Futures By Design: Enabling Soft Digital Network Infrastructures, by developing Digital Tools and Data Driven Innovations for SMEs in the North Sea Region, summarising Futures by Design activities, including the scoping report on the Drivers and Barriers for Data Driven Innovation amongst Small to Medium Sized Firms and the current development of our Project digital tools that we use to support 300 SMEs in our regions. The purpose is to help participating SMEs with their next step to become more data driven and to provide the building blocks towards the formation of localised Soft Digital Network Infrastructures.

An ITU press release about the meeting is here for background information.

Futures By Design: Enabling Soft Digital Network Infrastructures, by developing Digital Tools and Data Driven Innovations for SMEs in the North Sea Region (pdf, 380 kB).

 


External Newsletter November 2020

The newsletter gives you an insight of the status and outcome of the project so far.

External Newsletter, November 2020


Drivers and barriers for data driven innovation amongst SMEs

The drivers and barriers report is now published under the Publications section. There is an online version and one downloadable pdf with active hyperlinks for desktop and print. The report is alson available for download below:

Barriers and drivers for data driven innovation amongst SMEs (online version) 

Barriers and drivers for data innovation amongst SMEs (desktop version)

 


 futuresbydesign.net

External webpage up and running

The external webpage for Futures by Design, futuresbydesign.net, is now up and running. Here you can read all about the tools the project have developed so far and stakeholder and SMEs.

More information about Future by Design events

More information about Future by Design tools

 


 

Futures by Design on track, overcoming Covid19 issues

After our successful FBD pilot and the great progress made at the Cambridge Conference in March, we were just about ready to launch the Operations Phase of FBD.

Then came the virus and the lockdowns.

However, this did not stop FBD  - it just made us think of new ways to reengage our 300 SMEs and new ways to develop tools that were better adjusted to the immediate crisis. The new list of TOOLS exceeds the target number for the whole project and you can read about them in the TOOLS UPDATE item further down in this article.

One obvious measure has been to develop online capability to deliver the project and in some ways this is a help – one of the constraints for SMEs is finding time to engage with FBD, but the time needed can be reduced via the internet. 

We have also found that it is possible to ‘chunk’ FBD into 4 phases for SMEs and to work in groups for the first three stages:

      1. Registration and self-evaluation
      2. Tools demonstrations
      3. SME data project setup including targeted FBD results
      4. Project execution and evaluation of FBD results

The pattern will vary from Partner to Partner but the overall plan is for the project operation phase to work to the time plan:

Operations Phase Planner

The other major achievement of the summer has been the setup of the HSKT Central hub which provides all the tools and logs the progress of each SME through he project. This has been the great work of our Partner, the Jheronimus Academy of Data Sciences (JADS). See the HSKT page of the website for more details.

 


 

Tools update

The tools we have now developed for FBD are:

FBD Tools

Later in the summer we also developed:

FBD Tools 2

 


 

Bremen Conference

We are all excited now to attend the planned FBD Conference “in” Bremen. This event will be online and our agenda is:

MON, 21 SEPTEMBER

14:00 Initial meeting: What do we need to achieve?

15:30 “Virtual Sightseeing” / Impressions of Osterholz + Bremen 

16:30 Close of formal session / Voluntary event online (?) 

TUE, 22 SEPTEMBER

09:30 Tools demonstrations and HSKT hub JADS 

11:00 Short break  

11:30 Operations: progress plans and monitoring 

13:00 Lunch break / virtual reviver

14:30 Exchange of Information Meeting including stakeholders 

16:00 Close of formal session

WED, 23 SEPTEMBER

09:30 Making sure we can now operate and have a full plan and  identify tools still needed including purchase of data         

11:00 Formal close and review of conference  

11:30 Short break

12:00 Partners’ Meeting + Steering Group Meeting:   Cover all matters relating to regional meetings, dissemination, papers, results measures, outputs, reports schedule, comms

13:30 Close of conference

We are delighted that we will include the planned interregional exchange of information events where FBD partners and stakeholders from NW Germany and Holland will share ideas about FBD and how it can drive growth, productivity and innovation in SMEs.

 


 

External newsletter

The newsletter gives you an insight of the status and outcome of the project so far. Download the newsletter as a pdf below and get access to the full report Why you should care – what does it mean to be data-driven and how to get there, written by Ruud Sneep and Matthjis Bookelmann at JADS. The newsletter also contains videos and examples of collaborative datalabs with students and how to create a horizon-scanning knowledge hub. 

Download the newsletter as a pdf

 


 

End of the pilot phase: Project meeting in Cambridge

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At the end of the pilot phase, FBD project partners met in the English university town Cambridge in the first week of March in order to discuss current results, the progress made and further steps to take in the project. The meeting was hosted by Anglia Ruskin University that is responsible for project implementation in Eastern England (Cambridgeshire). The fruitful exchange within the project partnership was completed by contributions of local stakeholders who highlighted the need for the project.

In six project regions SMEs are supported to become able to analyse data, identify new solutions for business needs and implement future-proof, innovative processes. In addtion to workshops and consulting in each project region, a virtual Horizon-Scanning and Knowledge Transfer Hub is developed. This transnational online platform provides tools for SMEs with the help of which they can assess and increase their knowledge and capabilities with regards to data-based work.

In the next weeks the implementation phase of the project will start during which SMEs in all project regions get the opportunity to take first steps in using data analyses for their company and thereby prepare for the digital future. First results of this realisation phase will be discussed at the next partner meeting in Bremen / Osterholz-Scharmbeck in early September.

 


 

Concept Paper: HSKT Hubs

Read about the definition and role of HSKT hubs in the new concept paper written by the University of Groningen as FBD project partner.

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Conference in Den Bosch

The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) hosted our second beneficiaries’ conference from 28 to 31 October. We were with JADS during their major Data Week – an ideal chance to see how data can drive performance and to see how SMEs themselves benefit from this approach. In addition to our project meetings, we took the opportunity to develop a comprehensive HSKT concept, collate all work done by the project partners so far, design the best means to engage our target of 300 SMEs with the piloting that lies ahead.

The conference was a real success. With a full turn-out from all beneficiaries we were able to get to grips with the tools that are being developed by JADS specifically for the project that aim to help SMEs to improve performance through better use of data. In addition, we were able to meet with several SMEs who had their own success stories to share and these really helped build confidence in the FBD approach. The cornerstone of this approach is of course the Horizon-Scanning and Knowledge Transfer (HSKT) hubs. The concept for this is now in an advanced state with papers to be published at the end of this month. Progress with this vital thinking was shared at our conference and gave us all the chance to shape the final outcomes. All beneficiaries are now able to pilot the initial tools with small numbers of SMEs, with results to be shared at our next conference in Cambridge from 2 to 4 March 2020.

 


 

Kick-off meeting in Leeuwarden

On 11 and 12 March 2019 the kick-off meeting of Futures By Design took place in Leeuwarden. Representatives of all twelve project partners came together to get the project started and prepare the next steps to be taken. During the two days the project partners discussed various project-related issues and paved the way for the implementation of the defined work packages. On the second day, two members of the Joint Secretariat attended the meeting and provided information on the organisational aspects of an Interreg North Sea Region project. Besides, the meeting provided the opportunity to get to know each other better, additionally facilitating cooperation during the coming three years.