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Review of Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership – Business Programme


The Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership (DSBEP) was created by the Scottish Government as a mechanism to assist the implementation of its digital strategy and to address specific perceived weaknesses in the adoption of digital technologies by firms in Scotland. This report presents the findings of a review of five of the six DSBEP suite of projects for Scottish Enterprise (SE) on behalf of DSBEP partners. The five elements of the project activity were (the Supplier Development Programme having already been evaluated): Digital Boost; Digital Vouchers; Cyber Resilience Vouchers; Digital Tourism; and #hellodigital!. The principal aims of the programme activities are to: achieve wider penetration in the adoption of digital technologies; be of national benefit; be additional to core agency activity through using smarter partnership working to achieve delivery; and take forward recommendations identified by the Partnership.


The methodology consisted of consultations with 151 firms.


All five projects have been implemented as planned to greater or lesser extents and firms’ engagement was strong. The review highlighted high levels of satisfaction across a very broad spectrum of business support interventions. All elements of the DSBEP offer were additional and led to firms taking appropriate actions to enhance their digital presence. The voucher-based projects were most notable in this regard. There was also marked improvement in a previously developed metric, the Digital Economy Maturity Index (DEMI), which shows a business’s level of digitisation. Based on feedback from firms, the activities appear to have been very effective and have clearly contributed to improving the digital competitiveness of firms that were engaged. A key observation was that while firms were aware of the potential importance of digital technologies, they faced the following challenges: obtaining appropriate expert advice on how best to use technologies within their businesses; and creating or acquiring an appropriate level of resource to support digital technologies’ adoption. Consultees were clear that the Partnership had a significant impact on co-operation between members and there was a consensus that the Partnership worked well and that it should continue.


A number of recommendations were made, including that: the Partnership should continue to operate; the Partnership should adopt a “co-development” approach when designing future interventions; if repeating a similar approach again, the Partnership should give early thought to the method of employing members of a Project Office so that their contractual arrangement is as straightforward and streamlined as possible; standardised procurement and delivery approaches should be adopted across Scotland where possible and appropriate; and if repeating a similar approach again, the Partnership should endeavour to schedule “audit” type programmes before measures that provide financial assistance to firms to support their digital actions.

Author O’Herlihy & Co. Ltd
Published Year 2017
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support, Support to existing/growth businesses