Microsoft offers a vision for Digital Scotland in their white paper – The Microsoft Digital Blueprint, a vision that if realized would add a cumulative £100 billion plus to Scotland’s GDP from 2014-2030.
Check out their tweet to access the paper.
— Microsoft Scotland (@MSFTScotland) April 26, 2016
A Digital Nation Charter
A headline theme is a proposal for developing a Digital Nation Charter, that builds on the experience of the Digital Participation Charter, implemented through:
- Give a specific Digital Nation remit to the Council of Economic Advisers.
- Strengthen the Digital performance indicators of Scotland Performs, the National Scorecard.
- Support the Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Key Productivity Challenge and creation of a Scottish Productivity Commission.
- Create a cross-party Digital Nation Committee to ensure Parliamentary oversight.
It’s often the case that these kinds of lofty aspirations can be visionary but without practical substance, however these goals are well conceived, entirely achievable and if done so would indeed establish the foundations that make the overall vision realizable.
Digital Business Skills
A critical feature is the adoption of digital technologies by Scottish businesses, the essential dynamic for boosting productivity and international growth.
They highlight that while 75% stated that digital technology was essential to the future growth or competitiveness of their business only 37% of the 4,000 Scottish businesses surveyed stated that their employees were equipped with sufficient technology skills to meet the business’ digital technology needs.
For example only 17 – 19% have invested in e-commerce sites and Cloud services, the most powerful tools at the disposal of SMEs to grow their business internationally. It also identifies the types of action needed to address this:
28% think better support from Government would encourage them to invest in more technology.
They also offer recommendations for how this might be achieved, forming a Digital Nation Action Plan, and to grow adoption of these technologies Microsoft recommends a number of actions:
- Implement a Cloud First procurement policy – The Scottish Futures Trust report that Government could save up to £ million each year across Scottish public services if it mandated greater collaboration and greater combined usage of cloud technologies, and this would level the playing field for Scotland’s SMEs.
- Develops specific provision for Digital Skills certifications across all Growth Sectors – An approach that builds on the early success of the Digital Skills Action Plan would be the formal creation of a Digital Skills partnership for each Growth Sector.
- Grow Digital Health – Greater investment in Digital Health will get Scotland’s population healthier and fitter and bring huge cost savings to enable reinvestment, via a suite of technology innovations such as Data Science, Telemedicine and Online Booking apps.