Susan Msalila, Shetland Islands Council

Written by Alan Robertson on 25 September 2015 in Feature

Fresh from winning the Connect Project Delivery Award at our Awards in June, we hear from an individual working in the most northerly part of the UK

Susan Msalila

Job Title/Organisation: Executive Manager, ICT for Shetland Islands Council

What does your role involve?

Creation and delivery of an ICT strategy for Shetland Islands Council; management of a team of technical staff who provide all ICT support for the council, third sector partners and first-line support for NHS Shetland; installation, support and maintenance of desktop computing, both corporate and schools; datacentre management; application support and management; wide area network management including private fibre and wireless, telephony, project management and network security.

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

The delivery of joined-up solutions to enable collaborative working both within the Council and with other agencies, for example in the delivery of the Health and Social Care agenda. 

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

Since taking on the role of Executive Manager in April 2014 I have enabled the management team and staff to reinvent our service, becoming more responsive, proactive and delivering a much better result for the end user.

The feedback we are getting is almost universally positive and I believe that we have transformed our relationship with the rest of the council, resulting in happier, more productive staff who feel more committed to their work.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

Make it sexy, make digital something that appeals to girls as well as boys, get away from the feeling that digital is something you do in a darkened room with the insides of a computer, in an atmosphere of acne and sweaty socks.

Which new technology excites you the most?

The possibilities opening up for using technology to enable people to stay independent and in their own homes for longer, and with a better quality of life (probably because I am getting on a bit now).

What's your favourite app and why?

I don’t really do apps, I only have a few. I’d been a dedicated Blackberry user since 2005 and only finally gave in and got an iPhone last year, but I was very taken to find that you could get a metronome one.

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

Sharing. How to manage cloud (with a small c). And how to get the right infrastructure in place to make sure that users can get the information they need once we have agreed we can share it.

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