Tech 100: ‘Digital should maybe be thought of as a mindset rather than a destination’

Written by Stuart Cameron on 22 February 2017 in Comment

 Stuart Cameron, ICT team leader for Scottish Canals, on the evolutionary as well as revolutionary change digital presents

Stuart Cameron - Scottish Canals

Disruption is a term frequently encountered when reading about digital transformation and the significant changes happening across most, if not all, industries.

For those at the start of such a journey I’m not sure phrases like “disrupt yourself” always make it easy to understand what is required to stay on the front foot.

It is easier  – perhaps with the benefit of hindsight – to see how you might disrupt the DVD rental market with online streaming or the taxi industry with a new digital, app-based model but I suspect there are a number of organisations where such wholesale changes are not quite as easy to visualise.


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Now is definitely the time for bold visions and brave changes but I believe there is also a place for evolutionary transformation rather than having no change at all.

Digital should maybe be thought of as a mindset rather than a destination and having questions such as, “How can we do things better with existing or emerging technology?” permeate the entire workforce and not just the more technologically au fait is a large step in the right direction.

User experience is the key to flattening the change curve when it comes to driving successful transformation in any area.

Digital is not really about the technology itself but about all those underlying ones and zeroes making lives easier.

It’s about efficiency and making the human interaction with your business or with your processes as seamless as possible.

An ex-colleague took his car for a service this month and felt so good about the experience that he posted it on social media. Staff aware of his details as he arrived, SMS updates and an emailed run-down of the work completed made for free advertising and a happy customer – “Slick As…”.

Scottish Canals has already implemented a number of solutions to provide efficiencies and improve customer and user experience with even more in the pipeline.

Online purchase and invoicing portals are saving significant time in the finance team and making for a swift and easy service for other employees.

We are beginning to use IoT [internet of things] devices for things like remote lighting control, we are increasingly using video conferencing to reduce our carbon footprint – and time spent travelling – and every employee is provided with a smartphone for increased connectivity and the ability to interact with these new services.

It is worth stating the obvious and highlighting the fact that as the reliance on technology continues to mount, it is increasingly important to ensure that we get the basics right.

Information security, availability and resilience need built in from the ground up and must be at the forefront of any thoughts whether at board level or the frontline of the service.

Opportunities to use technology to improve, streamline and automate business functions and processes are abound and digital transformation can indeed be evolutionary – just don’t be afraid to seize the chance for revolutionary change when it presents itself.

Stuart Cameron is ICT team leader for Scottish Canals

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