It goes without saying that the last three months have been an unusual time for everyone. As a business owner, and responsible for a team of over 60, I personally have felt the stress and pressure of trying to adapt and guide my team through these uncharted waters.
In many ways, we have been incredibly lucky as a business. Many of our processes and systems have been designed to support remote working, which means that it has been relatively easy for our team to adapt and continue to deliver for our clients.
What this time has highlighted, however, is that Covid-19 has acted as an unexpected catalyst for change within many businesses in Scotland.
It’s opened people’s eyes to the opportunity and risk mitigation that digital transformation brings and is pushing businesses to change at speed. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the old saying goes.
Digital Transformation in Scotland
We’ve all been managing the effects of Covid-19 with some businesses proceeding with caution, reducing investment and in some cases pausing external spend whilst assessing the impact of the virus.
However, we’ve also seen many businesses using this time to think about how they can come out stronger on the other side – building new digital products and services to better serve their customers and investing in these areas.
Within Edinburgh’s financial services industry, we’re seeing many banks and insurance companies expediting digital transformation projects, removing some of the extensive red tape to get projects moving.
Many of these digital transformation projects in Scotland are investing in digital customer awareness and support; at a time of financial uncertainty for many, whilst at the same time focusing on improving overall operational resilience.
It’s a similar situation within healthcare. NHS Scotland has made some phenomenal progress, building brand new digital services including Covid-19 symptom checking apps, patient portals and online Covid-related services at an unprecedented rate; ensuring that we, as citizens are always as informed as possible.
They have had to be agile, build new relationships at pace, and engage with new third-party agencies and suppliers.
What’s really interesting is that we as the end consumer are adapting quickly and embracing these new digital services and many healthcare professionals hope that this will become the new norm moving forward.
Some of the hardest hit industries in Scotland including hospitality and retail have quickly adapted building out new digital offerings. Many restaurants and independent businesses have quickly built an online presence, incorporating online ordering, e-commerce and electronic payment capabilities.
As lockdown continues to ease, retail and hospitality businesses who deal with larger volumes of customers are putting in place digital solutions to help keep their customers safe. For example, we’re seeing retail stores investing in appointment based software to manage the number of customers in store utilising technology such as Appointedd – another Scottish technology company.
Something that I have personally been blown away by is Scotland’s response to helping in a time of national crisis.
- Edinburgh Lockdown Economy launches interactive ‘Experiences’ feature
- Tech firm founded by Scottish entrepreneur acquired for $330 million
- Edinburgh-based crypto startup Zumo partners with Modulr
The Scottish Tech Army has been set up to mobilise one of Scotland’s biggest assets; our tech talent, as a force for good during Covid-19, helping organisations who typically would be unable to action these digital projects either through funding restrictions or technical skills.
Even members of our own team have been working to put their digital skills to good use building TheLocalShopper – a website that lets small businesses promote that they are available for delivery or collection – a real life line to some of these micro-businesses.
For all the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought, one thing is clear – businesses are ready and willing to change.
It won’t be all plain sailing but we shouldn’t go it alone – look to each other to share knowledge, ideas and expertise – I personally have been supported by a fantastic group of industry leaders and I urge you to reach out if I can offer the same to you. It really is up to us to get the Scottish economy moving again.
Euan Andrews is the CEO of xDesign, Scotland’s leading software development company. xDesign has over 10 years experience specialising in digital transformation in Scotland; helping clients to digitally transform through planning, designing and building custom mobile and web applications. Find out more about xDesign here