Cloud collaboration software vendor Huddle have been chosen to support the delivery of the GrowthAccelerator programme, led by business and financial advisor Grant Thornton.
Grant Thornton announced today that 250 staff across a consortium of firms will use Huddle’s software as a service (SaaS) document sharing and collaboration tools to deliver the Growth Accelerator project, aimed at supporting business growth for UK SMEs
Grant Thornton is leading the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) backed project, working alongside other consortium members such as Winning Pitch, Oxford Innovation and Pera.
After using Huddle across “small pockets” of its organisation in the past, Simon Littlewood, Head of Business Growth Services at Grant Thornton, said that wider implementation of Huddle would enable more efficient collaboration between key staff.
“People, regardless of their overarching organisation, can work together, and they can do that securely and in compliance with each separate organisation’s firewalls,” Littlewood told Computerworld UK. “Particularly from this programme’s perspective we can do that at scale, understand usage, and manage control.
“We can have an entirely controlled collaborative space for the delivery of the programme, and that is exactly what Huddle provides.”
The geographically disparate workforce created a need for collaboration tools to support the rapidly growing Growth Accelerator scheme, which has received £200 million in private and public sector investment since its launch in May last year.
There are 800 business advisor coaches involved in the Growth Accelerator, and over 100 people “out in the field” doing strategic reviews with businesses, to align them with the advisors.
Support involves providing private sector experts to coach businesses, aiding them in areas such as raising funding, or developing market strategy.
Little said that Huddle can play a key role in managing the flow of information between the various staff.
“All of the central management information resides on Huddle,” said Littlewood. “We have got 100 odd people out in the field, delivered through four partner organisations, and we have a huge amount of events and activity going on at any given time. Huddle is the single authoritative database and point of access to whatever the last or current piece of information is."
Tthe cloud collaboration tool allows the sharing of operation management documents between growth managers for instance, making the most relevant versions available to each member of staff.
“If there is an update to that they will all be made aware, and they will know the latest operations manual will be available to them on Huddle," he said. "They will have visibility of the most up to date document, and won’t have problems with version control.”
“Similarly, people have access to a whole bank of live case studies, they can be updated in one place.”
The Growth Accelerator is a co-funded programme with public and private sector to support business with expertise available in the private sector. Huddle itself has received support from the project in the past.
“Grant Thornton is a great example of how businesses are making the leap to the cloud to share knowledge and work effectively on content with their entire business ecosystem,” Alastair Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Huddle said in a statement. “GrowthAccelerator provides organisations with a unique opportunity to work with some of the best business minds in the country.
“In fact, it was access to a government finance scheme – an early version of GrowthAccelerator - that gave us the grounding in how venture capital and this type of investment worked, so it’s great to see this project come to life on Huddle.”
“Using the platform, Grant Thornton’s teams can now ‘huddle’ together and provide partners across the country with access to the information they need.”