The vision considers game-changing approaches for Government such as transport networks, connected care and a digital ecosystem for citizens
Wales could become a major player in the global digital economy and build a better and more connected and inclusive society for its citizens, if its government and local leaders act on the findings of a new research paper.
Digital services company Atos has published a new Digital Vision for Wales opinion paper which highlights the range of opportunities available through digital transformation. With the help of the Welsh Government, Atos believes these could drive competitive advantage in a global economy and improve the lives of the country’s people.
The vision focuses on themes such as innovation, speed of digital change, integrated services, big data and cyber security. It also considers game-changing approaches for Government in areas like transport networks, the future delivery of education, connected care and the creation of a digital ecosystem for citizens.
It features contributions from influential figures from Wales’ public and private sectors and Atos on the need to improve public services, deliver greater efficiency and enhance citizen experiences.
“From being able to access everyday services online, supporting travellers at every stage of their journey to digital healthcare and education, the possibilities for digital transformation are exciting,” said Mark Donovan, client executive Wales at Atos. “Our research shows that the appetite is there – especially among Wales’ discerning, and demanding service users.”
Outside of London, Wales has the fastest growing digital economy in Britain, with the number of digital businesses up by almost 10 per cent in 2015. The IT sector in Wales employs around 24,000 people and is predicted to contribute around £1.5 billion to the economy over the next five years. Expectations of digital and economic acceleration for the nation are further heightened with plans to develop an ‘Internet Coast’ along the Swansea Bay as part of a £500 million city deal plan to drive the digital future of energy, technology and healthcare.
In addition, independent research commissioned by Atos found that it is not only Welsh businesses that are realising the benefits of a more focused approach to digital services but that Welsh citizens are also embracing change. The report found that 20 per cent of respondents in the country actively seek out new digital services and applications, just behind London, the South East and the Midlands.
“The digital revolution has the power to change lives and strengthen our society, but won’t be fully effective if it is constrained by ‘old-world’ technologies, approaches and ideas,” said Donovan.
Public sector digital consultant, David Jones, said that digital might feel “uncomfortable” but that “this is a job for both the executive and elected leaders across local Government. “They need to be brave and look up from the day-to-day in order to drive change.
“The digital agenda has moved on from being merely important, it’s now critical; not just for delivering better services at lower cost, digital can also create safer services. The failure to shift to digital implies that Councils are out-of-touch with their citizens.”
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