For research park offices, technology accelerators, and economic development corporations, the quality of tenants and applicants is much more important than quantity. Although offices may benefit from an increased number of applicants, these offices depend on high quality applications being identified during the intake process. Previously, this was difficult, as the measures used for identifying promising commercialization was more subjective than objective, and the paper-based bureaucratic process made it difficult to ensure that all the necessary data was captured and reported to key decision makers.
Digital tools are crucial for research parks and similar organizations to digitize and automate much of the intake process in order to free up resources for more critical operations. By using a system of record for intake, research park offices can automate evaluation workflows and standardize assessment criteria. This creates a much more effective sorting process, as obviously unqualified applicants can be automatically rejected without needing human attention.
While effective initial evaluation can be done through automated means, a deeper analysis requires input from a multitude of subject matter experts. However, most digital tools utilized by research parks are not built specifically for the task, meaning that offices are forced to rely on ad hoc solutions that frequently are not able to effectively aid in evaluations. As such, offices depend on a mix of emails, spreadsheets, note-taking apps, and other data collection tools that are difficult to organize.
Given issues with miscommunications and dropped opportunities from the inevitable gaps in ad hoc systems, offices can’t depend on these solutions to scale. Furthermore, by keeping due diligence and assessment information in one central location, offices can quickly and accurately make decisions on deals. Centralizing the deal data also allows for deeper analysis into the components and helps modify intake and evaluation criteria to ensure that only the most viable deals are brought to attention.
In order to more efficiently manage applicant and evaluate their viability, research parks and similar organizations need a centralized system of record that is able to automate part of the process and serve as a repository for all due diligence and assessment data. By implementing such a system, offices can track interactions, manage personal data, and negotiations in such a way as to increase efficiency and prevent data loss due to staff turnover.