Martin Brown, Head of Business Development, Improvement Service

Written by on 1 October 2015 in Feature

For 100 days, Connect will be running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland.

Martin Brown

Job Title/Organisation: Head of Business Development, The Improvement Service 

What does your role involve?

Driving the pace and reach of digital transformation programmes Scotland-wide by leading the promotion, adoption and uptake of myaccount, the simple and easy way to securely access online public services across’s 32 councils and other eligible public bodies. myaccount is operated by the Improvement Service and Scottish Government-funded.

Simply put, this involves building myaccount into the number one player in the space, positioned to continue to grow and prosper, ensuring key metrics for business development are met and exceeded, while delivering better outcomes and impacts for our partners and the public alike.

More widely, this involves designing our forward growth strategy, establishing productive collaborations and strategic cross-sector partnerships and establishing a further forward pipeline of collaborative projects. As well as leading the design and execution of our communications strategy, my role involves driving and supporting the overall strategic direction, management and operation of the myaccount service. 

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

The need to push more services online is being driven by rising customer expectations in the internet age on the one hand and by the public sector’s squeezed financial position on the other. While technology has a role to play in facilitating the drive towards cheaper channels, it should not obscure the bigger challenge public bodies must face and meet: the continuing need to build service configuration and design around customer journeys, not organisational needs.  

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

Successfully led the formation effective public and cross-agency partnerships before going on to lead the development of award-winning national products and services which, themselves, have become an embedded part of the Scottish local government landscape to this day. Among these include the Customer Service Professional Qualification, Scottish local government’s only fully online professional qualification certificated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

By better matching academic and vocational provision to what the economy needs and by offering incentives to students to enrol on courses aimed specifically at helping bridge that gap. 

Which new technology excites you the most?

The rapid developments taking place resulting in routine customer transactions previously done by plastic card now moving onto mobile devices. These developments have huge significance for Scotland where over 2 million people possess a National Entitlement Card (NEC). 1.2 million alone of these are entitled to Transport Scotland's National Travel Concession Scheme and use their plastic card NEC to do so, while a further 600,000 are Young Scot NEC cardholders. 

What's your favourite app and why?

WhatsApp – for its simplicity, first and foremost, and for the reassuring comfort it brings to parents! As a parent of a recently graduated daughter who’s just set off to work overseas, WhatsApp has more than proved its worth for helping bridge the contact gap. 

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

2016 will be the year when the ability to vote online is proven as something more than simply a concept and successfully demonstrated in at least one type of election within Scotland and facilitated by myaccount.

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