Scotland's young business leaders target digital investment amid Covid recovery

Innovation and digital investment is the number one priority for Scotland’s younger generation of business leaders, a new survey suggests.

Infinity Works, part of Accenture, is one of the UK’s leading digital transformation consultancies. Picture: Jeff Moore
Infinity Works, part of Accenture, is one of the UK’s leading digital transformation consultancies. Picture: Jeff Moore

Younger Scots (aged 25 to 44) are showing the most ambitious outlook when it comes to post-Covid growth and investment by putting digital transformation at the heart of decision making, according to Infinity Works, which is now part of Accenture.

The firm commissioned a survey of 250 senior leaders in Scottish organisations with more than 500 employees.

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While 73 per cent of all respondents acknowledged the pandemic has forced them to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to stay competitive, it is the younger generations that are looking to build on this and invest more into digital projects, the report showed.

One in three in the 25-44 year-old bracket is keen to invest across a full range of digital transformation activities, compared to one in five of their 45-plus counterparts. Key technologies to be pursued include IoT (Internet of Things), data science, cloud and process automation.

Technologies such as blockchain – while grabbing headlines – remain uncharted territory and very much split opinion on the role they will play for businesses in Scotland

Of the younger generation, about a third (34 per cent) cited internal resistance to change, and one in four (26 per cent) lack of leadership and vision, as threats to their digital transformation efforts in the next 12 months.

Ed Marshall, tech director at Infinity Works, said: “Pioneering young business leaders in Scotland are putting customers at the heart of everything they do while also investing in digital technologies that will help support post-Covid-19 growth.

“The success of digital transformation initiatives won’t solely be dependent on technology, however, they require an equal focus on business processes and having people who can adapt to changing market conditions.

“Data, as an example, is crucial to helping organisations make better strategic decisions, but the findings highlighted a third of organisations in Scotland lack the skills to make use of their data.

“Businesses, education institutions and the government must continue working together to drive efforts to plug the digital skills gap and help achieve the ambition of Edinburgh becoming the data capital of Europe.”

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