Digital Vision for Scotland: Adapting to a Global Digital Economy

Cyber Scotland Week

Atos has unveiled its Digital Vision for Scotland, outlining key areas in which Scotland can look to improve and become a global digital technology hub. 

Global digital transformation leader, Atos, has today unveiled a new vision for Scotland’s future in a digital world. The Digital Vision for Scotland opinion paper highlights the dramatic impact of digital technologies in Scotland, as well as detailing the potential for the nation to forge a competitive advantage in an ever-changing, digital global economy.

In an era of unprecedented change, Scottish businesses are rapidly evolving to keep pace with technological advances. Scotland is forging a reputation as a global hub in the artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics fields and as such, a concerted effort to develop digital skills is of paramount importance.

Digital Vision for Scotland

Launched at a Systems Leadership Roundtable event at the Glasgow City Chambers, the opinion paper covers a variety of issues, such as Scotland establishing itself as a leading digital nation; accelerating Scotland’s digital revolution, digital policing; the future of Cloud and cybersecurity services and the future of health and wellbeing.

The paper also considers improvements to digital skills development, IoT in the delivery of Scotland’s utilities and the role in which millennials will play in years to come.

Speaking on the launch of the thought leadership paper, Atos’ Senior Vice President for Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Big Data & Security, Gavin Thomson, said: “Scotland is responding to the demands of digital change through world-class innovation and digital leadership.

“There is a breadth of talent and research in the rich tech ecosystem, supported by the Scottish Government and its Digital Strategy. There is now a need to develop the workforce and to build digital inclusion and maturity to ensure Scotland continues to be an outward-looking digital nation.”

Thomson added: “We firmly believe harnessing the digital and technological potential in Scotland will help to enhance citizens’ lives and enable organisations to deliver their key priorities.”

In the paper, recognised business sector experts discuss the opportunities and challenges that Scotland’s businesses face when undertaking a digital transformation programme. Infrastructure and public services are also in the spotlight, with suggestions made on how to meet the challenges and deliver on the potential of a digital Scotland.

Accelerating Scotland’s Digital Revolution

Scotland has a clear strategy for embracing a digital future through schemes such as the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy. However, the paper suggests that more concise planning and a concerted effort between industry, academia and government is required.

It says: “While Scotland’s digital ambitions are important, tangible and clearly articulated, there are signs that there’s still some way to go – and opportunities now to step up the pace of digital evolution.

“As an outward-looking country, Scotland can learn from others’ experiences.”

Three key priorities were highlighted in the paper, including:

  • Increased efforts to accelerate the adoption and exploitation of digital by organisations
  • Closing the skills gap, and
  • Developing a systems leadership approach to manage high levels of complexity

Education is a key area in which Scotland can excel, according to the paper. It recommends that the education system should be “further developed to fully exploit digital content and tools”, such as digital learning platforms or materials from global providers.

In doing this, Scots will not only develop key digital skills but be capable of adapting to the changing workforce environments of the future. Schools, universities, government and also industry partners are advised to “find new ways to ignite Scotland’s entrepreneurial spirit” and “inspire, encourage and raise awareness” of the various digital opportunities available. This, the paper suggests, would follow the model found in Scandinavian nations.

Adapting to Disruption

Adapting to changes expected in both industry and society will be a key challenge in the coming years. Operating in an era of ongoing volatility and uncertainty, organisations will be required to tackle fresh leadership challenges and develop a more systemic approach when evolving Scotland’s digital economy.

Systems leadership, it is claimed, will enable greater thinking, planning and the implementation of activities and interventions in a more “holistic, connected and integrated way.”

“By recognising all the factors at work and understanding their interdependencies, much more can be achieved”, the paper stated.

Additionally, Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS suggested that through concise strategic planning, Scotland can act as a pioneering nation in a number of fields, as well as develop a highly-skilled population.

She said: “A future smarter Digital Scotland would be an international leader in digital technologies, such as AI, data science, Fintech and cyber, with world-leading research and innovation in industry-relevant fields.

“All our citizens will understand the benefits of digital, be highly-skilled in using digital solutions to improve productivity and the quality of life for themselves and others, and actively promote Scotland as a world-class location.”

Purvis added that “both Edinburgh and Glasgow will be major start-up hubs, and Scotland’s cities [will be] top European locations for international technology businesses.”

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