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Business product review: General Strategy Workshop


The General Strategic Workshop (GSW) Product is delivered to both direct relationship managed (DRM) and non-DRM businesses within the Scottish Enterprise Strategy Development (SD) Intervention Framework. The GSW Product, along with the International Strategic Workshop (ISW) Product, is designed to address market failures experienced by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing intensive support through a workshop session, provided at no cost to the businesses, and designed to identify the key strategic choices and assist in reaching informed decisions on future strategic direction for the business. The review aimed to: validate the delivery of the product against specification; and identify potential for improvement of the service and the effectiveness of the product.


The review process consisted of: consultation with the Scottish Enterprise Appraisal and Evaluation Team; a review of relevant information, including the GSW Product User Guide (PUG), the GSW Product Approval Paper, and management information relating to GSW spend and activity over the period up to from 2010 to January 2013; a facilitated discussion amongst account managers (AMs) of DRM users of the Product; and a telephone consultation with the product manager.


The review confirmed increasing and high levels of usage and satisfaction with the GSW Product amongst the AMs who attended. The particular strengths of the Product and its application which were identified included: the flexibility of the Product allowing it to be applied to a wide range of strategic issues and choices facing businesses of varying sizes operating across all sectors; the capacity of the Product to assist in establishing and building the AM relationship, highlighting issues to be addressed and assisting in the gathering of information; the production of a tangible output in the form of an action plan which provided focus for a follow up session and provided an agenda for further development assistance from the AM; and generally high levels of satisfaction with the suppliers known to and regularly selected by the AMs and businesses to deliver the Product. The main weaknesses of the Product and its application identified were: the use of the Product with businesses which were less likely to benefit from its application; inconsistencies in the format and scope of the action plans produced by different suppliers; lack of consistent and independent assessment of the suppliers of the Product; and restricted use in some cases and areas of the whole panel of suppliers.


A number of actions were recommended, including that: the rationale for making the Product available to non-DRM businesses is revisited given the scale of resource being absorbed by these businesses; consideration is given to rationalising the GSW and ISW into a single SD Product; the procurement process takes into consideration the opinions of AMs on the performance of those suppliers they have used to deliver the GSW; consideration is given to a second stage summary tender process for each workshop offered to a business from a minimum of three suppliers; and a process is put in place for the consistent, independent and objective assessment of supplier performance based on the experience of the attending AM and the business.

Author Malcolm Watson Consulting
Published Year 2013
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses