In March 2021, the Scottish Government published a refreshed Digital Strategy, ‘A Changing Nation, How Scotland will Thrive in a Digital World’. The strategy set out the vision for Scotland to become a vibrant, inclusive, pioneering and collaborative digital nation, and its publication has arrived during an extraordinary time. The context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving role digital technology has played has brought challenges and inevitable learnings that have helped to shape Scotland’s digital future, and it therefore forms a recurrent and overarching theme.
This blog offers a snapshot of Scotland’s Digital Strategy 2021, including the Scottish Government’s reaffirmed commitments to open digital opportunities for Scotland and its people, as well as more transparency on the areas of technology that will take priority focus over the next 5 years.
‘[The Digital Strategy document] is a commitment to change the way we work to ensure services are designed to meet the needs of the user, to deliver economic recovery, to meet climate change targets and to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the skills, connectivity and devices required to fully participate in our digital nation.’
- A Changing Nation, How Scotland will Thrive in a Digital World, 2021
The strategy focusses commitments on the following key action areas.
Technology to encourage wellbeing and social renewal
Improving social health through the improvement of digital connectivity and accessibility was a fundamental talking point in the Digital Strategy. The Scottish Government has cited improving 4G network and broadband coverage, public-funded infrastructure fit for future data requirements and digital skills training and equipment for the most vulnerable people in Scotland as the main priorities. This is to ensure every community across Scotland is empowered to use digital tools to thrive.
Not only does it help to develop and sustain Scotland in a robust digital future, it reinforces the message referenced throughout the document: ‘No One Left Behind’. These actions correspond with the vision of Scotland as an ethical digital nation which is inclusive, fair and transparent for all.
Technology to deliver economic recovery
Assisting COVID-19 recovery by driving a digital skills workforce is a central theme of the Digital Strategy. The Scottish Government have set targets to enable SMEs to adopt and optimise resilient digital technologies, increase diversity and tackle skills shortages within digital career roles, and increase open accessibility on public data.
In addition to this, they stated their commitment to collaborating with the tech industry, including telephony communications organisations like NFON, to demonstrate and deliver the benefits of remote working. This is an area particularly pertinent to Scotland, as a rise in home-working and digital accessibility can boost populations across all of Scotland, including in rural and island communities.
A recent CBI Scotland study indicates that the adoption of new technologies – and the skills to use them – could add £25 billion to the Scottish economy over the next decade. This statistic, included in the Digital Strategy, will play a crucial role in Scotland’s economic recovery.
Technology to support thriving businesses
As a driving force in Scotland’s economy, the Digital Strategy was clear on its priorities to help businesses to develop digital technology that can disrupt and empower industries. The Scottish Government have set out to support all businesses to become digital businesses; as part of this, they recognise the need to create conditions for technology businesses to grow and create digital jobs that attract investment.
Investment in digital infrastructure for businesses plays a unique role in Scotland, in its potential to revitalise rural and island communities. The adoption of digital business models has been accelerated by the pandemic, and research referenced in the Digital Strategy shows 73% of businesses found the pandemic had encouraged them to adopt new technology to deliver services or provide goods.
NFON supports digital innovation in Scotland
NFON are committed to achieving impactful digital change in Scotland for the benefit of its people and public sector service delivery. Our communications platforms, powered by modern Cloud technology, bring people together and establish lasting connections in a seamless high-quality user experience.