AP Benson has extensive experience and expertise in both the theory and the practical implementation of the Digitally Networked Business (DnB) programme, working with the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for the Economy and Transport (DE&T). These build on research undertaken as part of the Framework programmes with support from the European Union into "Digital Business Ecosystems" (DBEs). DnBs represent an immediate, practical approach that can be applied to companies who have already undertaken investment into ICT systems as well as those starting with more of a blank slate.
The Development of Practical Deployment Plans
In November 2007 AP Benson was instructed by the Welsh Assembly Government to develop practical plans for the deployment of DnBs within the Welsh Social Housing Sector and for the Wales Innovators Network (WIN). This work was completed in 2008 and proposals for deploying these DnBs have been developed and submitted for funding approval. It is likely that the two DnBs will be deployed in late November 2009.
DnB Development & Promotion
Since August 2007 AP Benson has been involved in assisting the Welsh Assembly Government in promoting DnBs and DnB thinking across a variety of areas. This has involved attending conferences in Brussels & the ERISA Conference at Celtic Manor, supporting discussions and development of the Anglesey DnB and the Intelligent Town DnB supported by Caerphilly Borough Council.
AP Benson has also developed and submitted original documents supporting the development of DnB thinking in a variety of areas including:
a. Development of the proposal entitled "Intervention Proposal Project: Connected Cymru"
b. Development of discussion document entitled "Caerphilly Borough Council Suggestions for Formal DnB Structures"
Development of Practical Approaches to DBE Deployment
In the course of the development of the DBE deployment plans for WIN and Social Housing, it was recognised that the DBE technology was not, yet, sufficiently mature to support full DBE implementation.
In addition, the phrase "Digital Business Ecosystems" was, in itself, felt to be somewhat off-putting to business audiences giving the impression of being an academic concept. We also recognised the need for organisations to make use of or integrate existing technologies with the proposed DBE technologies.
These factors led to our development, with our Welsh Assembly Government colleagues, of the Digitally Networked Businesses concept, using established technologies, making use of existing ICT systems and networks and building towards a full DBE vision.
Next Steps in DnB Deployment
We have now been engaged by DE&T to develop a general Deployment Framework based on our knowledge and experience gained to date working on the DnB programme in Wales.
AP Benson staff have experience in developing manuals and programmes to guide the consistent delivery of services. Our own manuals for the delivery of Consulting, Accounting and Corporate Recovery services are examples of this. In addition, inter alia, we developed and implemented manuals for the operation of the Innovation Centre at Howbery Park and for the management of the WDA's ICT Advisory Service (advisors' and contract managers' guides). We are now developing manuals for managing the deployment of a series of DnBs. One manual is aimed at prospective participant companies, offering guidance on the development of a DnB and the second manual is aimed at DE&T personnel and sets out the process for managing a programme of DnB development across a number of sectors.
AP Benson has been a provider of consultancy services to the Department for the Economy and Transport (DE&T) and its predecessor, the Welsh Development Agency, since the Corus Regeneration Project in 2002 and more recently under the SME-Business programme between 2005 and 2008. In addition we have recently been accepted as a provider under the new E Business convergence and competitiveness support programme, starting in June 2009. As a result of our involvement to date, we are familiar with the aims of the E-Business & ICT Support Convergence Project generally and with Element 4, the Digitally Networked Business in particular.