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Productivity Insights

Productivity Insights

Welcome to our new Productivity Blog ‘Productivity Insights’.

We are delighted to welcome ScotlandIS, Research and Policy Manager, Marc Strathie as our first guest writer. Marc in his role with ScotlandIS recently worked in partnership with SCDI on the report  ‘Innovation Critical – Scotland’s Net Zero Mission and Climate Tech Opportunity’. The report identifies seven challenges for Climate Tech in Scotland and proposes ten recommendations to grow Scotland’s Climate Tech sector and deliver a transition to net zero by 2045 which creates green jobs and boosts exports, innovation and productivity.

Below as part of our ‘Digital Transformation’ month Marc conveys his thoughts on the available opportunities, the need to understand the complexities of various business needs, and his top 5 tips to consider before embarking on a digital journey.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation as we know it has accelerated to the very forefront of our society in the last year. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted to many industries across Scotland the need for a digital capability and transformation programme to ensure every sector across Scotland continues to be a pillar of our society and economy. Digital technology underpins and enables everything from healthcare, tourism, retail to oil and gas, manufacturing, food & drink. As we move forward, ScotlandIS believe there is a wealth of opportunities to collaborate with other industries and trade associations. We see huge potential value in bringing together these sectors together to support collaboration and innovation.

Even before the events of this year consumers and organisations alike were starting to examine the role of digital in their business. Driven predominantly by changing customer demands, organisations were forced to think creatively how to serve all customers and stakeholders. Digital transformation is not an easy task for any business, regardless of the scale or size. Sadly, those who have not begun the journey towards digital transformation face a looming risk of being left behind. The COVID-19 has demonstrated some positives, namely those organisations who have found ways they can pivot their offering (such as E Commerce platforms, online tourism, online events). However, some organisations, have sadly been exposed due to a miniscule digital presence.

Digital Transformation is not a “one size fits all”, every organisation across the Scottish economy will have different wants, needs and requirements from digital. An understanding of your organisational needs and/or customer needs is crucial before you embark on the journey towards digital transformation. The next stage is creating an environment whereby “organisational buy in” takes place. In doing so, senior leaders within an organisation must understand what the skillsets of each member of staff is. Scotland already faces a chronic digital skills gap, therefore the digital transformation journey is not a process to take lightly.

In the last year we have seen more organisations than ever before embarking on the digital transformation journey. The good thing about that is you can learn from their experiences. Look to others for best practice guidance and learn from their mistakes and successes.

Below are 5 top tips to consider for those about to embark on the digital transformation journey or those already on it.

1.Define the end game

Before embarking on this journey, it is important to understand what your transformation aims/hopes to achieve. For example, your end goal may be to improve customer experience, but improving operational efficiency through automation or increasing employee productivity may be the first steps in achieving this

2. Focus on workforce culture

You need to ensure you have organisational “buy in” from the top down. Senior management right through to junior level employees must be invested to ensure the workforce is ready for change.

3. Integrate data and AI into all processes

We’re in a new age of technological development. New technologies like AI are continually learning and using data to become more efficient and effective which will help you longer term.

4. Engage your customers throughout

It is important that throughout the journey you engage with your customers. Is it what they want? What do they want to see improved?

5. Identify potential knowledge gaps/weaknesses

Undertake an assessment of where your business weaknesses may lie across your infrastructure, people and processes and consider areas such as leadership, skills, culture, technology, and connectivity.

The author is Marc Strathie, Head of Research & Policy  and team at ScotlandIS.

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