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The SharpCloud Blog


Simplifying complex decision making

Meet SharpCloud for Innovation Pathfinder Phil Pitman from Costain

"As an organisation, we have seen the value-added benefit of using SharpCloud with our innovation process and have established a service offering for our clients that utilises SharpCloud for roadmapping as one of our core services."

 - Phil Pitman, Rail Sector Innovation Manager at Costain Group PLC


Phil Pitman pathfinder

Phil talks about how SharpCloud is helping him to develop and deliver on various strategic rail innovations and innovation programmes.

Costain, the smart infrastructure solutions company, helps to improve people’s lives by providing integrated leading edge, digitally optimised smart infrastructure solutions for clients in the UK’s energy, water, transportation and defence markets. We keep water clean and flowing. We power communities sustainably. We connect and keep the nation moving. We keep our people safe.

The business problem

As part of our InnovateUK funded project we needed to undertake technology and innovation roadmapping in a digital environment to enable remote collaboration and collation of information, in an easily accessible space that worked without the need for human intervention for the administration of the curated data. 

We wanted to create an ecosystem of information where people could quickly and easily access data and any relevant information, projects or documents linked to that data.

Why had other tools not solved this problem?

We required a bespoke innovation platform that enabled a process from our project team to be utilised. The format of SharpCloud enabled us to do this whilst simultaneously accessing and using other tools and features of the software such as story development, relationship mapping, resource allocating, commenting and voting for preferred data.

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) created a bespoke 'Roadmapping and Ideation' support process, from stakeholder engagement through to developing a proposal; essentially a 'template' containing rows and columns of data. SharpCloud was therefore an obvious solution in terms of being able to upload data in a column/row format from other business systems.

How is SharpCloud solving the problem?

By enabling multiple users to interact with the same story, we can host and run workshops where the delegates are able to interact with each other's data, helping them to understand the flow of the roadmaps during the curation process – this helps to ensure that the roadmaps developed have a clear direction and reduces the amount of administration required.

Following the workshops, we can present and demonstrate the roadmaps to clients and stakeholders, clearly showing them the story behind the data with easy access to the reference material and collateral required to underpin the arguments and data illustrated. 

By gathering and communicating the information via a platform accessible to all, the process or project is fully transparent to all employees and stakeholders. We are able to create an infinite amount of information behind any 'headline' and a repository of information going forward. 

Key differentiators and features of SharpCloud

  • The ability to take and visualise complex ecosystems of innovation data and enable clear visualisation through the various story’s and explore the data through different views and lenses, depending on the insight required.
  • It allows you to articulate and navigate complex information and relationships with a clear route through the data and progression in time, in our case from a current position of the industry to a position in the future.
  • The instant syncing of user populated data regardless of login and/or device enables collaboration of multiple users regardless of location of interface.

What are the benefits of using SharpCloud, to you personally, and to your organisation?


The software allows me to enter a story without any existing knowledge and quickly understand the relationships between elements, clearly visualise the story of information being portrayed, and have access to the reference material to support the detail, all in one place.

Centralising all information, documentation and knowledge about a process or project in one place, creates a ‘single source of truth’ and reduces the time spent searching for documents.


As an organisation, we have seen the value-added benefit of using SharpCloud with our innovation process and have established a service offering for our clients that utilises the software for roadmapping as one of our core services.

This will allow us to not only deliver professional innovation services to our client, but move the industry towards digitised interactive stories of information that flow and provide context and understanding – far more so than the standard consultants corporate report.

We can pull together a wealth of resources, in a variety of different views and visually communicate it to business, public and private communities in an engaging way. 

Are you seeing any quantifiable results from using SharpCloud?

Fundamentally we are looking to use SharpCloud to manage stakeholder engagements, carry out Innovation Roadmapping and support the demonstration and delivery of specific innovations, and we expect to see an increased efficiency across these processes in terms of saving time and resources. With so much information on offer, having it all in one place as a 'collective' will be hugely beneficial to all. 

Following implementation and deployment of our new service offering to clients we should be able to quantify results.

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