- Andy Bennett, Knowledge Transfer Manager - Space, KTN
Andy talks about how SharpCloud is enabling the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) to help other organisations identify and visualise which technologies and innovations to invest in.
What was the business problem that needed to be solved?
We were undertaking a technology roadmapping exercise with the UK Space Agency to try and help them understand which technologies they should support and invest in, and how those technologies might impact on other services and future planned missions.
With a variety of areas to investigate, from space robotics to rocket technology, there were a vast number of companies, academics and options for the UK Space Agency to consider. Trying to work out which of these options to choose and which technologies to invest in was a real challenge, especially with limited money.
This project was really about identifying the best technologies to invest in to give the best return for UK tax payers and UK Government, as well as giving the Agency a repository of information they could use to help them qualify applications for future funding calls. Furthermore, the ability to access this information in one place whenever the Agency needed it, was really important and everyone would know where to go to see what was going on.
Why have other tools not solved this problem?
Previously we used big Excel spreadsheets which were un-engaging and static, and other software which due to cost, restricted the number of users who could view the outputs. With SharpCloud we could instantly see that it could not only collect all the data but was a great way of visually displaying the information and a much better way for people to engage with it. The output (SharpCloud story) could be easily shared with and viewed by as many people as possible and was an efficient and interactive way to demonstrate the information collected.
How is SharpCloud solving the problem?SharpCloud is helping to more easily identify and visualise which technologies to invest in, and understand the different players in the market and what technologies and suppliers are available for commercial opportunities and missions going forward.
For example, if we are investigating 'Access to Space' technology, we can easily link technologies to opportunities using relationships, and very quickly see that if we invest in a certain type of launcher, what kind of components we need and therefore where the gaps are. Although a supply chain already exists, by identifying the gaps, targeted investment in these areas will help fill those gaps and develop a full supply chain.
Do you use other software data in SharpCloud?
Only Excel at this stage although we have been talking about integrating SharpCloud with our CRM system in the future.
- Relationships are one of SharpClouds strongest aspects. Being able to uncover previously unseen insight allows us to quickly identify technologies linked to missions and commercial opportunities and more importantly, identify the gaps.
- SharpCloud really helps with the visual communication of that data, compared to spreadsheets which never really capture anyone's imagination. SharpCloud is far more engaging, easier to understand and enables everyone to see the bigger picture.
- Forms are a great and effective way of capturing data at a workshop and continuing to collect data over a longer period of time.
- I really like the various attributes you can add into the data, allowing you to create more interesting views and displays. This is particularly useful in a live workshop scenario where we are able to create different views quickly from the data collected to demonstrate what insight we can instantly identify.
What are the benefits of using SharpCloud, to you personally, and to your organisation?
As one of the first users of SharpCloud at the KTN, I could really see the value in it. Since then over half the people at the KTN have had the opportunity to see or use SharpCloud and can also see the benefits it brings.
For us personally it allows us to showcase our knowledge and expertise and a good understanding of our sectors and the companies within those sectors. Our aim is to connect those companies together to accelerate innovation and growth and by using SharpCloud we have helped many organisations identify others they should work with.
I used SharpCloud with In-Space Missions to collect information for developing new space missions, in order to help them understand the technologies needed and the commercial and regulatory aspects of the proposed. We helped create a business case which could be showcased in SharpCloud, and taken to investors and grant funding organisations to say 'we've got all this information and we know what we need to do' which in turn is helping them to generate further business.
"SharpCloud is unique and helps the KTN to stand out. Everyone I have worked with can see the real benefits SharpCloud brings. They love the way it displays information and how interactive it is and that has ultimately led to more business for the KTN."
Following the initial project work we undertook with the UK Space Agency, they engaged us to carry out further projects using SharpCloud, which clearly brought a benefit to us and to the Space Agency who could see the value we were bringing by using the tool.