The future arrived over 15 years ago and it’s decidedly digital

Shaun Millican

Shaun Millican

Business Advisory Partner

In today’s hectic and oversaturated world of social media, big data and “fake news” versus “real news” debates you’d be forgiven for thinking it all appeared out of nowhere, whilst reminiscing about the simpler days of the late 90s. However, the UK has been on a march to digital since the transition from heavy industry to a service-led economy in the 1980s.

We are now seeing a convergence of the many disparate digital elements as they clash with the current social, economic and environmental challenges of our generation. The challenge is to stitch these together to build a strong and inclusive digital economy.

From the moment we wake up in the morning we use digital technology to go about our daily lives. Fancy some motivational music? Ask Alexa to play your favourite playlist. Need a coffee on the way to the office? Order online in advance. Need to buy a gift on your lunch break? Shop it online and order lunch to your desk through Deliveroo at the same time. Temperature dipped by the time you leave work? Remotely turn on your heating through an app on your way home.

Where we need to be careful is ensuring we develop a healthy ecosystem of talent, start-ups and funding across Tayside. This foundation is imperative to allowing a local digital economy to keep up with demand. With a host of well-respected universities and educational establishments in the area there is a key opportunity to collaborate. Many universities have established successful technology and life sciences spin-offs and it’s this type of intrapreneurial energy which can fuel our locally available skills.

Across the Scottish creative scene artists and designers are becoming more digitised. Their talents are incredibly useful in the digital economy - nobody wants to use an app that doesn’t look good or perform well! Creative and artistic minds are imperative in developing the user journey, user experience and the level of enjoyment gained from interacting with an app or website. This can be make-or-break for online businesses.

Digital technology isn’t only for the young or the new sectors of the economy. Traditional manufacturing is seeing huge advances through the steady adoption of robots and automated processes. The next generation of “cobots” are designed to work in collaboration with humans, making manufacturing more efficient and competitive.

Being able to make key business decisions with confidence also becomes more certain, with cloud based financial platforms providing access to real-time financial information. Built-in forecasting and modelling tools harness data and make it work for you. Digital technology is your financial ally, allowing you and your trusted advisers to make informed decisions; knowing the financial health of your business.

In pursuing a digital-first economy Tayside needs local skills to research, create and perform in the digital technology space, otherwise there will be a real struggle to keep up with global competition. We have the tools to build this future, however there needs to be real collaboration and a fostering of an inclusive environment for the economic benefit of the region.  

To speak more about digital technology and the opportunities available please get in touch with me, or a member of our Technology & Life Sciences team.