ScotlandIS aims to grow Scotland's data sector with dedicated new role

Written by Jenni Davidson on 4 July 2019 in News

The tech industry body has also appointed a dedicated support manager for the North East of Scotland

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Scotland’s data sector is to get a boost after industry body ScotlandIS announced the creation of a new role to bring together and promote businesses working in the area of digital data.

Katy Guthrie has been appointed as ScotlandIS’s head of data to help tech companies in Scotland take advantage of the rapidly growing market for specialist data solutions.

Her role will be to support Scotland’s digital sector to develop and promote new products and services that exploit data.

Working alongside The Data Lab, Scottish Development International (SDI), the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) and others, she will bring together a data cluster to connect people, identify opportunities and promote Scottish data science expertise.

Guthrie has a background in data, software and digital design and has worked in business intelligence, data architecture and other technologies.

She joins ScotlandIS from Diligenta, a subsidiary of Tata Consultancy Services, where she was as head of data.

Commenting on her appointment, Guthrie said: “Initial work will focus on understanding and mapping the sector through the development of a data-specific capability framework.

“This cluster will help organisations make quicker, more effective connections. 

“The hands-on experience I have in various data engineering, design and exploitation roles in financial services gives me key insights that I can bring to the role.

“I look forward to engaging with companies, academia and public sector organisations in pursuit of a common goal – to maximise Scotland’s data opportunity.”   

Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said: “Our recent 2019 Scottish Technology Industry Survey revealed that Scottish tech companies viewed the greatest opportunities over the next 18 months as being in artificial intelligence and machine learning data analytics and internet of things. 

“We therefore decided to create a dedicated data cluster under the stewardship of Katy as our new head of data, as part of our wider cluster development strategy.

“The new data cluster will bring together Scotland based businesses that provide data-related products and services.

“It will facilitate collaboration and the development of new, innovative products and services which could help to open new markets and opportunities across the globe.”

ScotlandIS is already heavily involved in highlighting the opportunity that data offers to Scotland.

It recently co-authored the report ‘Building a World-Leading AI and Data Strategy for an Inclusive Scotland’ with BT, SCDI and Royal Society of Edinburgh in support of the development of a national strategy for AI technologies and data.

Meanwhile, the North East of Scotland is also to get dedicated support after the industry body appointed Jen Scott as a digital development manager for the North East in partnership with Opportunity North East (ONE).

Her role is to support ScotlandIS members in the region to grow their businesses and break into new markets, as well as raising the profile of the tech sector in the area.

Scott, who took up her new position in April, has a background in technology and most recently headed up public engagement with research at the University of Aberdeen.

Sir Ian Wood, chair of ONE’s digital and entrepreneurship sector board, said: “Digital is one of the key transformational factors in our economy and ScotlandIS shares our ambition to make North East Scotland a dynamic environment for new and established tech businesses with high-growth potential and enable digital transformation to deliver step changes in sector productivity.

“We are now co-investing to bring additional resource into the ecosystem to support company and cluster growth.”

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