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Richard Shreeve: Unlocking the power of Scotland’s data

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Fully understanding and driving meaningful insight from data is a huge task. With an estimated 90% of the world’s data created in the past two years alone, it’s easy to see how the challenge is set to grow exponentially.

In our latest Changing Landscape report, Dialling Scotland in for Digital Success, we discussed how Scotland’s public sector can achieve its vision of becoming a “vibrant, inclusive and outward-looking digital nation” – with data insight at the heart of that journey.

From tackling digital exclusion, empowering a change-culture and moving beyond channel shift, there’s certainly a large appetite to achieve digital success in the region. But it’s now vital that Scotland’s leaders unlock the data they hold to deliver meaningful change and better outcomes. So how can this be achieved?

Redefine our relationship with data

Our report highlighted that 41% of local Scottish government employees see data as the lifeblood of their organisation, yet 40% of Scottish citizens still don’t trust their council to handle their data. The key here is to place data at the heart of the organisation, to drive actionable insight from the centre to every part it connects with. The imminent arrival of GDPR reinforces the view that information is only on loan from citizens and should encourage organisations to ensure data is fit for purpose, secure and accurate.

Improving Scotland’s data IQ

‘Data rich, information poor’ is a phrase heard time and time again. Our research found that only 20% of Scottish councils believe they are effectively using their data for better insight. Whether this is down to a lack of skills or siloed data, the key is to understand the data held and its true value to encourage better data management and drive greater insight.

Don’t forget to share

There are inevitable barriers to sharing data, with 34% of those surveyed citing security as the key issue. But with 59% agreeing that transparent sharing needs to be encouraged to boost data insight, improved sharing will break down barriers and allow people to engage right across the public sector.

Great steps have already been taken and are evident in the creation of Police Scotland and the integration of health and social care in the nation. But with the growth in data set to continue, now is the time for Scotland to really get to grips with this information to ultimately deliver better outcomes for all.

Read the full report at

Richard Shreeve, consultancy director, Civica Digital

Column sponsored and supplied by Civica


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