Robert Laley, Scottish Housing Regulator Business Intelligence Manager

Written by Alan Robertson on 26 October 2015 in Feature

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

Robert Laley (@SHR_news)

Job Title/Organisation: Business Intelligence Manager, Scottish Housing Regulator

What does your role involve?

I manage the business intelligence function within SHR and am programme manager for our digital transformation programme. We collect, analyse and report on a vast amount of data In order to protect the interests of social housing tenants and others who use their services.

We were delighted to be awarded the Insight and Citizen awards at Holyrood’s ICT Connect awards earlier this year in recognition of our work to improve the use of data and to empower tenants and other service users with insightful and accessible interactive reporting tools. 

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

There is a constant challenge in ensuring that digital transformation meets the end user requirements and that our suppliers are able to translate our vision into user-friendly digital services. As we become more sophisticated in our use of technology we have to bridge the gap between our understanding of our requirements and how our suppliers can bring the technology to meet this... within a public sector budget that is under intense scrutiny, of course.

Additionally, attracting and retaining staff with the right ICT skills is a real challenge for us and our suppliers.

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

The software development work on our data collection and reporting for tenants has been hugely challenging within a very tight deadline with competing priorities. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from tenants and the media and it’s really good to know that we have delivered digital services to time, cost and quality and, most importantly, that meet the end user test. Hopefully our work will contribute to improved services for tenants – what matters is measured.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

There has been phenomenal development in technology over the last five years and I think there needs to be a considerable investment in training across all sectors. There is obviously a need for more skilled developers to meet the burgeoning demand but there is also a need to ensure that the public sector can adapt and fully utilise the new technology that is becoming available.

Which new technology excites you the most?

I think we will see some amazing advances in the use of 3D printing in the health sector for artificial limbs and even human organ replacement. Barely imaginable five years ago but a real prospect in the very near future.

What's your favourite app and why?

As a music lover I think Spotify has been a great way to find new music but I still support artists by buying CDs. However, I still prefer the analogue sound of vinyl – some things just aren’t better digital!

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

I’m really excited to see how the Scottish Government is driving and supporting  digital transformation. I think this is a great opportunity to improve the customer experience and to do things more efficiently at a time of intense pressure on the public purse, so the current developments are really interesting.

On a wider level we keep hearing about the Internet of Things and are only slowly seeing how this benefits us in our everyday lives – will we all see a roll-out of more IoT in our homes in 2016? Maybe not, but it’s getting closer.

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