Jim Deves (on the left-hand side) with David McElrea , Director at 3T Power, at the company’s HQ in Northern Ireland

Today we are joined by Jim Deves, a Digital Enabler from Greece, and Alex Bookless, of the Company 3T Power in Northern Ireland.

Jim is visiting 3T Power for four weeks spread across the months of December 2018 and January 2019 as part of a matching organised by DigitaliseSME. Let us hear about their expectations when they joined and their impressions of the experience so far.

Hello Alex, Hello Jim, thank you for joining us. To start our interview, tell us how did you first hear about the project DigitaliseSME?

AB: We were in touch with our local investment agency, Invest Northern Ireland, which also acts as the regional point for the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). They are meant to help Northern Irish SMEs to grow. To do so, they can also direct you to European projects and programs outside of their own local portfolio and they sent us the link to DigitaliseSME, which we immediately thought was appealing.

JD: I had already participated in previous projects lead by European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, DigitaliseSME lead partner. Specifically, I had joined the MobiliseSME exchange program, and, since then, I have been following their initiatives. As soon as I saw this new opportunity, I got in touch to see if I could join.

What was your objective for joining the DigitaliseSME matching program? What did you hope to get out of it?

AB: We are a company specialising in power generation and power sales. We really wanted to automate several processes based on digital technologies and we wanted to find an expert that would support us in planning how to do that.

The matching program seemed to fit our need as a Digital Enabler would surely help us assess our digital needs and put together a plan covering how we would engage with different stages of our digital growth.

JD: I wanted to open my business to new markets, both in terms of countries and sectors. The DigitaliseSME program was what I was looking for. 3T Power was covering a very interesting sector so I was happy to match with them – power generation is rapidly evolving, it is big in my home country and it represented a new challenge for me.

How do you feel you are benefiting from this experience?

AB: Our experience is matching our expectations 100%. We are definitely getting what we wanted. That plan and the strategy we are hoping for, with enough details to act upon, looks like it is well on its way.

JD: I am happy with this experience. It is giving me a real insight in the power sector, it created the potential for new business and, more broadly, it is a great experience both personally and professionally.

Do you have any comments on the project or advice for future participants?

AB: Companies who want to engage with a Digital Enabler need to spend some time on getting a clear understanding of what they need so to maximise their time with the specialist and hit the ground running. If they are able, they should try to already provide details to the Enabler before the start of the match as that can really help the process.

JD: This is a great program for all parties involved. For Digital Enablers it is hard to get by yourself this type of collaboration as you don’t have the international exposure and for Companies it is often overwhelming finding where to start their digitalisation. I really hope it is continued.