Digitally Enhanced Advanced Services Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Management


This Digital Economy (DE) Network Plus will deliver a vibrant community that will position the UK as the internationally leading research hub for Digitally Enhanced Advanced Services. Rather than focus on the product or service that is delivered DEAS focuses on how the product or service is used. This is a major change in how firms earn money and is being enabled by transformative digital technologies that allows for example, payment per use or availability or outcome. The impact of these changes is in firm productivity. The traditional focus of productivity (outputs/inputs) is on internal efficiency. However, digital technologies can also transform the value of the output (payment for use, availability or outcome). Haldane (Chief Economist of the Bank of England) in his recent report on productivity puzzle (essentially stagnant growth since the financial crash) argues that despite the advent of the digital age and their adoption by some leading companies there is a very long tail of poorly productive firms across all sectors. He calls for the development of, for example, online tools that will speed the process of technological diffusion to the long tail. The development of the underpinning digital technologies for the purposes of developing DEAS is the key research challenge adopted by this Network+.

Planned Impact

Our aim is to develop a community of industry and scholars around the theme of Digitially Enhanced Advanced Services. This includes research topics such as: AI techniques, data analytics, HCI, associated technologies, and service business model innovation within the context of manufacturing, transport and insurance sectors.

We have a number of direct pathways to impact through our pilot studies and the engagement of our project partners. Specifically, for manufacturing there are a considerable range of potential SME beneficiaries including: Clevedon Fastners; MNB; Nicklin and UV Lights. There are also larger manufacturers including: Aggregate Industries (providing £40k in cash for an early stage pilot), Rolls Royce and GE. For transport our potential pilot studies include Resonate, Axis Fleet Management and Microlise. For insurance, we have potential cases with Royal Sun Alliance, Legal and General and smaller brokers through the support of Lloyds Corporation. More widely we will be linking our analytics and HCI insights with practitioners such as Gartner and the emerging data analytics business at Interroute (world's 5th largest cloud services provider).
As we have stated in the Case for Support we will develop a taxonomy and formal repository of successful DEAS use-cases to provide a platform for scale up research and practice. This will be made available to a wider group through the support of Sam Turner and HMV Catapult, AFRC (Glasgow) and AMRC (Sheffield), Lloyds Banking Group manufacturing advisors, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), the Road Haulage Association, British Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, Society for Motor Manufactures and Traders and in insurance through the Lloyds Corporation and Huntswood. We also have strong links to the Association of British Insurers and will pursue those as the project progresses.
In addition, through our three major research groups (ASAP, ASG and CODE) we have a total database of over 250 companies with regulr events that bring together large communities of users. In the later stages of the Network, we will introduce opportunities for extending funding into other sectors e.g. the wider professional services where we have an Innovate UK grant (AUTTO - Intelligent Micro-Automation). This links strongly to the recommendations of the forthcoming Blackett report on services.


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