Introducing the digital challenge

About Dominic Lusardi

I am an award winning Digital Business Leader & Non Exec Director (NED) empowering a multi-sector; global client base to fuse disparate technologies into innovative and forward looking solutions. I have extensive experience of utilising my entrepreneurial flair to direct and engage Boards, panels and steering committees to develop business and digital strategies to revolutionise and develop their digital thinking.

It has often been said that I have an innate ability to predict future trends. I can also distil a digital vision into a common language that engages people. This enables them to adopt a shared vision creates a common understanding and delivers results. Through a background of hardware, software, games development, media production, network infrastructure & immersive tech, I have unique understanding on the application of digital for business

I have partnered with traditional organisations to leverage the benefits of new technologies whilst securing the best return on their existing digital assets. I have guiding them to embrace immersive technologies including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Holograms, demystify tech and utilise their assets to reach a wider audience and increase their revenue. I am able to identify scale-up potential.

As an entrepreneur, innovator and early adopter of technology I am passionate about separating digital – how are we going to achieve the outcome and the thinking which is the value of your content and your message.

I have been identifying gaps in digital applications and potential creative opportunities since before the advent of the internet. Digital is a way of life for myself and is represented in everything I do from tech, to the many advisory roles I have held.

I have been successful in helping build a digital cluster and establishing senior and influential business network in the North East and I am consistently approached to advise on strategy for economic regeneration. I am committed to helping the North East develop its digital strategy and work across numerous projects to ensure critical digital thinking is at the heart.

I have been recognised and awarded for the work I have produced with the Tees Valley Tech Ambassador 2020, Top 30 most inspiring business leaders in the tees valley. Top 100 entrepreneurs in UK by the Sunday times and Maserati (2019). Business start-up, service/creative & growth awards. Scale up program- Entrepreneurs forum 2018

About the current challenge

The digital challenge is looking at data communication and visualisation within a multimodal logistic environment.

AV Dawson operates the Port of Middlesbrough and uses various reporting processes to ensure effective decision-making throughout all its business functions. The buzz surrounding digital transformation has highlighted the potential for organisations to streamline inefficient processes and utilise data effectively but AV Dawson has not fully reached its potential for digital transformation.

Data is a key resource on which most decision are made. It is an abundant resource that can be easily manipulated due to the existence of multiple ‘single truths’ and the lack of methodology in place to ensure data validity throughout.

Each business function operates in data silos to produce reports, based on their specific data solution already in place.  ​Although data remains a consistent resource available in SQL, it is not used at the best of its potential, as it is utilised in siloed systems that often do not communicate without human intervention. The existing APIs and data sets have an inconsistent data structure creating challenges and delays to produce reports for each business function. ​Managers play a key role in the production of reports which impacts their quality and accuracy considering the human bias and delay between data production and interpretation. ​The need to extract and interrogate data and then integrate it into other systems can impact data quality, decision making as well as overall business performance and efficiency. Thus, highlighting a missed opportunity for accurate and valuable trend forecasting.

The reports on which decisions are based are produced by managers and used to assess business performance to guide decision-making. The time spent on reports production and the level of bias can be significant due to data inconsistency and human intervention thus impacting the quality of the information shared. There will sometimes be the need to question data in the reports, in which case the reports need to be ran again leading to duplicated effort, meaning reports are outdated by the time directors have to take a decision.

Beyond manager and directors, all cross-functional staff must comply to the needs and requirements of each department, multiplying the amount of training and reducing efficiency and upskilling possibilities. Suboptimum UI/UX doesn’t engage staff with operational systems therefore limiting new integrations.

The unstructured, biased and delayed data creates discontinuities across functions and biased decision-making at a higher level and an inability to build in trend forecasts. This creates further challenges to verify the data accuracy and take actions based on continuous data validation. ​

The solutions we are looking for

We are looking for solutions that would empower AV Dawson Directors, Managers and staff of their data resources and harness the value of digital transformation for data-driven decision-making.

In practice, cross-disciplinary data can now be accessed by all staff in real-time and read-only through a single portal of reliable data, offering multiple audience outputs based on reporting requirements. This increases efficiency while offering safeguarded data access for enhanced decision-making at every level. Each business functions can produce quick reports and snapshots of the department's current health at any time to validate decision-making. Business performance is quicker and easier to access allowing time savings and efficient on-demand decision-making. Directors and managers are able to take efficient decisions backed-up by correct and verified data. The information provided by data-based reports provide clarity on business performances on all timescales as well as historical trends.

The solution provides a data management solution for Managers and Directors to easily forecast trends, produce on the fly reports, deliver real impact to all stakeholders, and ensure the relevance of future investments by utilising digital technology to its fullest.

All staff are engaging with systems and developing better insights and processes for their daily activities. The improved user experience and ownership make it easier to use systems which enables staff to produce better outcomes in their roles and anticipate potential issues. With data system steadiness, training material and delivery become consistent throughout the entire company, easing training needs identification for upskilling and facilitating cross-disciplinary work within each business functions.

This system results in little to no time necessary for reporting tasks across business functions so the focus can be on valuable decision-making aimed at increasing economic, social and environmental impacts. Moreover, AV Dawson is able to position themselves as a leader in digital transformation within the industry by showcasing tangible examples of digital innovation which wins hearts and minds of their employees by realising benefits for employees and the business alike.

The Tees Valley Business challenge offers the opportunity to large, small, medium business including charities to get involved in the economic growth of the region. This will provide participating challenge holders, a palette of solutions to internal barriers, as well as the access to a pool of innovative talents and idea.

The participating Solution Developers will therefore be able to develop new products and services, or repurpose existing ones with a direct route to market if they are successful.

The programmes will open network opportunities for current and future supply chain activities with large businesses whilst providing business support for solution development. A schedule of business support activities will deliver transferable skills and knowledge in innovation generation and management throughout the entire programme duration. This includes:

  • 1:1 business support
  • Industry cluster networking
  • Workshop activities (IP, fundraising, marketing, trends and data)
  • Innovation management
  • Team coaching
  • Funding support
  • Industry specialists and network support access

Edge Innovation launched five challenges on the 17th and 18th< of February, the webinars recordings for each events are available on Edge Innovation website. You can also find them below:

To get involved in this programme, organisations, business and charities will need to register their interest for at least one of the five strands mentioned above and have a registered office or trading address in one of the five Tees Valley Authorities (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland or Stockton-on-Tees)

A small business can participate in more than one strand and find further details about the challenges and our FAQ on Edge website:

Small and medium business including charities have until the 7th March to submit their expression of interest form via the Edge Innovation website here

The key dates for the programme are highlighted below:-

  • 7th March 2022 at 12pm – Submission deadline phase 1
  • 14th March 2022 – Shortlisted decision announcement for phase 1
  • 25th April 2022 at 12pm – Submission deadline phase 2
  • 26th - 28th April – Shortlisted decision announcement for phase 2
  • w/c 26/06/2022 – Final Evaluation