Key areas of the digital strategy

INFRASTRUCTURE Digital infrastructure is seen as critical national infrastructure and can be the basis of an investment- led, sustainable green recovery, using green data centres linked to renewable energy and with direct, resilient links to the global internet.

INCLUSIVITY A digital country is an inclusive country where nobody is left behind by the benefits of new technology. Part of this is geographical access – ensuring remote communities are connected - but also about access to equipment and the affordability of data.

BUSINESS Encouraging businesses to explore digital marketing, and the power of data as they adopt agile processes and take advantage of international connectivity. Creating a digital and data economy with government supporting business and companies to build digital capabilities and skills, through various funding mechanisms. The approach will also seek to create value from national research data.

INTERNATIONAL Supporting Scotland’s efforts to forge a distinct place on the international stage based upon a willingness to consider and collaborate with partners in addressing the new ethical, moral and regulatory questions posed by the digital world.

GOVERNMENT SERVICES Transforming government, national and local, into ‘truly digital organisations’ where digital skills and cultures can be leveraged, that use technology in an appropriate and considered manner and where services are delivered via cloud- based technologies which free up resources. Those services will increasingly be based on common and shared platforms.

“Despite the most challenging of circumstances, the enthusiasm for building an even better digital Scotland has never been greater” Colin Cook, Scottish Government’s digital director

rapidly and successfully organisa- tions have adapted innovatively to the pandemic. It’s widely agreed that we’ve seen digital technology progress in the public sector at a pace that would have previously taken years, and now only taking months. And that acceleration in digitisation is absolutely key to our economic recovery.” She added: “Since my time

that we identify and commit our- selves to a programme of change that can be seen as being equal, and as being commensurate to the level of social and economic shock that we are all experiencing.” Cook added that the pandemic

has “changed and arguably de- stroyed some of our traditional assumptions and business mod- els” and it is only natural that the updated national digital strategy – which was originally conceived in 2017 – will have to respond ac-

cordingly. Te impact of the virus has meant government has had to act with speed and agility in the way it deploys its services, which are increasingly moving onto cloud-based platforms. Finance secretary Kate Forbes

delivered a keynote speech at Digital Scotland in which she reaffirmed her commitment, as the former public finance and digital minister, to digital being at the centre of government plans. In September’s programme for

government, digital – and connec- tivity especially – has risen right to the top of the agenda, a fact that was echoed by Forbes as she addressed delegates at the virtual event. She said: “Te pandemic has

been the greatest challenge of our time with previously unimagi- nable impacts felt right across Scotland. But alongside those challenges have been successes, particularly when it comes to dig- ital; it’s been incredible to see how

as minister for digital I’ve been striving to establish an ambitious and coherent national strategy for Scottish tech. And this is impor- tant now more than ever as we recover from the pandemic.” Forbes praised the efforts of

the Scottish Tech Army that had helped support more than 100 emergency projects, including the delivery of vital PPE to those who needed protection, to providing technical support to voluntary organisations. “It’s been an incredible

FUTURESCOT | WINTER 2020/21 | 7 Continued on Page 8

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