Digital transformation warning for business

Duncan Girvan (transACT’s Director for Scotland)

ADAPTING to the rapid advances in digital technology will be key to Scottish businesses surviving an uncertain future, according to tech expert Duncan Girvan.

As confirmed by the Chancellor in his Spring Budget, forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) show the UK will avoid recession in 2023 despite previous predictions.

However, it still promises to be a challenging time for companies.

Research has shown that SMEs now regard the Cloud as their IT priority compared to hardware and traditional software, yet many lack the necessary knowledge to properly implement it.

As Glasgow begins a two-day Scottish AI Summit at the city’s Technology and Innovation Centre today, Mr Girvan said the speed at which companies are able to embrace digital transformation will dictate how well they are positioned to compete in the market place going forward.

“Before Covid, digital transformation was regarded as a jingoistic term, with many people not knowing what it really meant,” said Mr Girvan, who was recently appointed Director for Scotland by global IT specialist transACT Technology Solutions.

“However, the pandemic has changed everything and statistics show that digital acceleration has been moving 10 times faster than had been projected for the next ten years.

“For digital transformation to have an impact, it has to embrace things like remote working and the work/life balance of people. There is more of a holistic approach to business than there has ever been before.

“What happens to businesses in Scotland is going to be driven by the technology that is available. It is going to be a lot more immersive, with many more virtual experiences. A lot of manual tasks will be automated, allowing the resources for strategic development and looking at ways to innovate. In a lot of ways, it streamlines businesses to be more effective.

“It’s going to create a faster speed to market and create a lot of opportunities for progressive, forward-thinking companies. The ones with a more fixed mindset who are stuck in their ways will need to change and look to the future as they could quite easily be left behind. 

“Even though we’re living in the information age and the digital era, you can still survive using traditional techniques. I don’t think that’s going to be the case for very long with technology moving at such a pace. Moore’s Law basically states that technology increases capacity and efficiency two-fold every 18 months but the cost is halved. That is about to be blown out the water. As technology increases at such a pace, it’s incumbent upon businesses who want to remain competitive to be ahead of that curve.”

transACT is a specialist consulting partner for Amazon Web Services (AWS) focusing on the delivery of cloud solutions in business transformation and is the headline sponsor of an IoD Scotland event in Aberdeen on 27 April, where the focus will be on the oil and gas and renewable energy markets.

An AWS survey last year revealed that almost a third (30%) of UK organisations are struggling with a lack of IT Cloud skills.

“That’s definitely going to be a challenge going forward,” said Mr Girvan, who runs transACT’s Scottish HQ in Glasgow. “With the increasing demand for AI, finding individuals with the right set of skills can be difficult. 

“Even the more traditional organisations who would normally have the majority of their equipment on-premise are starting to realise they can open up new markets if they look for the new technology and in particular how they can embrace Cloud projects. But they need the right people to do that.

“Working with partners like ourselves enables businesses to operate at quite a high level using billion-dollar technology without necessarily having to invest in the head count. Businesses can outsource the support and expertise so that we can architect the right framework to allow them to move forward and scale.”

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