Nicola Graham, Head of ICT, Aberdeenshire Council

Written by Alan Robertson on 6 January 2016 in Feature

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

Nicola Graham (@nicolag71)

Job Title/Organisation: Head of ICT, Aberdeenshire Council

What does your role involve?

I am head of ICT at Aberdeenshire Council. I am responsible for our digital strategy and delivery of all ICT services across the council. This includes support for all applications, networks and devices, both to corporate and schools sites. As well as this, a key element of my role is the delivery of new digital projects across the council, deploying new technology and applications to support my organisation's strategy.

I’m also the current chair of SOCITM Scotland, which involves lots of work and collaboration across the public sector and a seat on the Local Government Digital Transformation Board

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

There are a number of challenges coming our way, some obvious ones such as health and social care integration and the growing pressure on budgets that all of the public sector faces. The biggest challenge of all that I can see is how we drive the culture change that needs to happen across the public sector to embrace new digital ways of working.

In particular, keeping up with the pace of change that technology is bringing.

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

Working with my current team and seeing them grow in confidence and over the last four years. We’ve undertaken a process of significant change in many areas – technology, process and culture – with still a long way to go. There have been a few challenges along the way, but overall we feel like we’re making a difference and I really enjoy coming to work every day.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

I feel really passionate about this: it needs to start in school early. We need to be teaching our youngsters how technology works, not just how to be end users of it. Early years programming tools are fantastic and we need to inspire our youngsters to see it as a future career path.

Which new technology excites you the most?

The Internet of Things – I can now do everything from heat my car up remotely, record my favourite TV remotely and I even saw recently a slow cooker that connects to the internet to allow you to monitor your evening meal. IoT has the potential to change everything in our day-to-day lives and its potential in the health and social care arena is massive.

What's your favourite app and why?

That’s a hard one. It would either be Google Keep, where I have all of my various to do lists and can share them with colleagues and family, or it would be PlugShare that tells me where the nearest charging station is available for my electric car.

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

In the public sector, probably a move to even more cloud-based technologies with the right levels of security, is going to become more prevalent and most of the new systems we implement are cloud based.

From a wider society sector, definitely Internet of Things. Its possibilities are endless and the smart companies out there are actively developing new solutions that we don’t even know we need yet.



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