Scotland's Digital Future: supporting the transition to a world-leading digital economy

Assesses the role that Scotland's public sector is playing in stimulating the digital economy and proposes actions that could be taken.


Capability Sector Analysis

The following outlines the main attributes of the ICT/Data/Informatics sector in Scotland.




  • Good co-ordination of software sector in Scotland through trade body ScotlandIS.
  • Good co-ordination of academic assets through research pool Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance ( SICSA).
  • Good intelligence around market opportunities through SE and HIE.
  • Good industry links into policy through TAG members.
  • ICT sector is not parochial; much of its market is outside Scotland.
  • Scotland has multiple high capacity connectivity to the main hub locations in London and on the continent for onward connectivity. Capacity on these routes is not an issue and technology developments means more and more capacity can be delivered over the fibre routes which already connect Scotland.


  • The ICT industry in Scotland is characterised as 'broad but with no depth'; there are no complete supply-chains in Scotland.
    There is a widely reported shortage of software engineers in Scotland per annum. For instance, e-skills UK reports [17] that, through to 2015 there is a need for 9,600 new entrants a year into IT and Telecoms professional job roles in Scotland - the majority of which (4,100/43%) are forecast to come from people working in occupations other than IT or Telecoms with 1,800 (19%) coming from education.
  • Scotland currently relies on two main routes south for UK and international connectivity and there are areas where routes converge to 'pinch points'. For a few organisations with the very highest resilience demands, an additional third route is often required and in these circumstances, Scotland could be at a disadvantage.
  • Scotland does not have a strong, wide or large capability in the communications field.


  • Reported high demand for every undergraduate software place in Scotland; so skills shortage weakness could be solvable with resources (although time lags would still operate between intervention and full solution). Near-term solutions could include re-skilling, especially targeted at re-entry of those who have left the sector.
  • SFC/ SE/ HIE Innovation Centres initiative seems to be providing focus for community and possible hosting of various associated support and exploitation mechanisms in specific areas such as Data Analytics, Digital Health, Sensors and Imaging.
  • Niche market opportunities have been identified for action; these opportunities are of the 'inevitable' type, being susceptible for positive influence by public investment and information campaigns rather than relying on consumer confidence.


  • Rapid and massive investment in digital infrastructure and training by other countries.
  • Skills scarcity raises cost-base and dilutes international propositions which rely on a readily available pool of talent.


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