Examples of improvements in the support offered by all support agencies.
The following outlines Illustrative examples of progress in improving the quality of services across account management, funding, and reviewing customer journeys.
1. Improvements in Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands account management
Previous independent evidence highlighted that the SE account management service delivers strongly for growth companies in Scotland. It indicated a return of more than £5 to the Scottish economy for every £1 of spend. It also found that companies grew faster and reported higher returns when they received both innovation and internationalisation support. Accordingly, SE is increasing its focus and resources towards engaging companies across these known growth drivers.
For account managed companies, SE has listened to customer feedback on the central role that specialist advisors play and has enhanced its approach to delivering a seamless integrated, high-impact service through effective account team working. This flexible, co-ordinated and pro-active approach is intended to unlock the right skills and resources from across the public sector in Scotland to deliver the right support at the right time for the customer to maximise impact. The diagram below highlights the central role of the account team in matching customer needs to the right service across the public sector. Expanding this approach will simplify the customer journey and accelerate growth.
HIE/SE Account Management -Account Team Approach
HIE has developed an assessment environment that supports the account management relationship and provides greater transparency across areas of opportunity and challenge. This:
- Streamlines and automates a number of processes and documents, including approval of clients into account management.
- Provides a series of tailored questions focussed around facilitating richer conversations and consistency across account managed relationships.
- Automatically generates a document to be shared with the client, providing greater transparency on areas where they will work together going forward.
- Automatically generates a plan for growth for the account manager.
- Provides an easy and user-friendly tool that supports an iterative relationship with a client - with updates or changes made easily.
2. Speeding up Scottish Enterprise grant application processes
SE invests over £90 million each year through grants and funding (excluding equity investments via the Scottish Investment Bank) to stimulate action by businesses to improve productivity and growth. This covers grant products that are used to stimulate increased R&D in Scotland, attract inward investment, and/or secure/create high value jobs, as well as smaller funding amounts that are released for expert advice as part of an integrated company growth plan (e.g. marketing, training, research & innovation, capital investment).
Whilst funding is often just one element in a broader programme of support, the submission of evidence and drawing down of funds is resource-intensive for SE. We have also heard it can appear bureaucratic and slow to businesses. SE is therefore implementing a programme to simplify and unify their grants and funding process, based on automating workflow activities and integrating online and offline systems from application through to the release of funds and on-going monitoring. This aims to reduce the time taken to receive and process support from an average of 60 to five days. It should also deliver further capabilities which SE intends to make available for use by partners across the business support system, aligned with the new digital environment:
- A secure online MyAccount space where customers can complete and save applications and claims, interact with advisers, review progress of their applications and claims, upload documents, store other relevant information and documents.
- A reciprocal MyCustomer space that builds on the existing company workbook approach and will enable staff to view and contribute to customer interactions, allowing two-way engagement.
- An intelligent search function that will enable customers to identify the right financial support based on their business ambitions, needs and growth status. This needs-based application approach avoids published 'lists' of grants and will remove confusion and time-consuming complexity for customers to navigate.
- Enhanced analytical opportunities by enabling the wealth of information currently stored in unsearchable static application formats to be securely visible, improving understanding of customers and trends and removing the need to ask repeatedly for the same or similar information.
- A suite of customer experience KPIs to complement SE's business plan measures. These will monitor how well SE delivers services, focusing on for example, cycle times, ease of use and quality of information provided.
3. HIE's improvement of its digital end-to-end delivery of products
HIE has developed a digital environment which handles the end-to-end delivery of specialist advice. This provides:
- A single environment for account managers, clients, supply partners and advisors to work together on individual cases.
- An end-to-end streamlined process from identification of need through to feedback and evaluation.
- Increased transparency through the ability to track and trace the entire process.
- Clear notifications and prompts when an action requires to be completed.
- A collaboration space where clients, account managers and advisors can message and share documents.
- Automatic generation of terms and conditions and digital acceptance for the client.
In addition, HIE has developed a comprehensive training and development programme for account managers that looks to build on, expand and enhance account managers' skills, experience and knowledge to achieve a high level of engagement amongst those who work most closely with clients. This includes practical skills, mentoring, guidance and online support. It also includes core and selective modules that are identified through a training needs analysis of the key skills and knowledge required for an account manager to undertake their role effectively. The programme will include the opportunity for short-term secondments and learning journeys, thereby helping to expand the account manager's sphere of knowledge and understanding, as well as their ambition and entrepreneurial mind set.