Online advice for SMEs on how to improve their productivity through the adoption of proven digital technologies

Last registered on March 18, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Online advice for SMEs on how to improve their productivity through the adoption of proven digital technologies
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007646
Initial registration date
May 10, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 10, 2021, 11:44 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
March 18, 2022, 9:12 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Behavioural Insights Team

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-05-11
End date
2022-03-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in England adopt productivity improving software at far lower rates than those in other comparable economies; this trial is evaluating whether a website that provides guidance and information to SMEs on how to purchase and implement the best software for their needs can improve adoption rates of software systems. The population being studied is SME banking clients of a high street bank in England.

This trial will compare outcomes for SMEs receiving differing levels of support from a Relationship Manager (RM) at their bank to use the website. In Arm 1 (the control arm), SMEs will not be given any information about the website. In arm 2, SMEs are provided only simple signposting to the website by their RM. In Arm 3, SMEs will be signposted to the website and will additionally have their RM walk through the website with them in a regularly scheduled meeting.

This is a cluster randomised trial; relationship managers will be randomly assigned to trial arms.

The primary outcome for this trial is steps taken towards adoption of software systems. The secondary outcomes are: a) adoption of software systems across five categories; b) intention to adopt software systems across five categories; and c) product engagement rates (self-reported use of the website)
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Cathro, Claire. 2022. "Online advice for SMEs on how to improve their productivity through the adoption of proven digital technologies." AEA RCT Registry. March 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7646
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The trial is evaluating a website that provides guidance and information to SMEs on how to purchase and implement the best software for their needs. In one arm of the trial, SME managers will receive some simple signposting, encouraging them to use the tool. In another arm of the trial, SME managers will be supported to use the tool by their RM at their bank in regularly scheduled meetings that take place between the SME manager and the RM. In the control arm, no signposting or support will be given.
Intervention Start Date
2021-06-16
Intervention End Date
2021-10-18

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The number of steps taken by an SME towards adopting technology
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
SMEs will self-report in a survey the number of steps they have taken in the previous three months (since the start of the treatment period), from a list of 15 possible steps.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Product engagement (usage of Be the Business Digital), adoption of software in 5 categories in previous 3 months, intention to adopt software in 5 categories in next 12 months
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This is a clustered, three arm trial, with two treatment arms and one control arm
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation done in office by a computer (Stata)
Randomization Unit
Cluster randomisation at the RM level, stratified on region
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Exact number of clusters will depend on recruitment - anticipate 50-200+ clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Exact number of observations will depend on recruitment - anticipate 350 - 500 SMEs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Relationship managers will be randomised equally across the three arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDES of 0.43 to 3.98 steps, based on between 50-200+ clusters, cluster sizes between 4-8, ICC between 0.1-0.5, and outcome standard deviation between 2-6
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials