The Growth Factor

5 min read Written by: Tim Daley

‘Technology is the golden thread that runs through the whole project’ the words of Councillor Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea City Council and the Swansea Bay Region Deal at the Swansea Bay Futures ‘The Growth Factor’ event.

Councillor Stewart shared the stage with Mark James of Carmarthen Council in a physical demonstration of words shared with us by the previous speaker, Professor Andrew Davies, Chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and the ARCH project: ‘collaborative advantage is the paradigm’.

The language, range of speakers and atmosphere was upbeat, ambitious and challenging.  The audience, made up of businesses from around the region, were buoyed and wooed with promises of opportunity and a focus on indigenous growth.  And quite right too.  This is a massive opportunity for the region and one that we are excited to be a part of.

Creating high value jobs

The challenge goes far beyond the construction of buildings and offers a real opportunity to change the physical and economic landscape of South West Wales.  An opportunity echoed in the neighbouring Cardiff Capital Region Deal. The speakers recognised the need to create high value jobs for now and for the next generation.

So how do we ensure that we grab hold of this opportunity?  Councillor Stewart ended his session with a call to introduce coding as a language in schools, to prepare the next generation for the high value jobs of tomorrow.  He’s right, but we also need to look at our current workplaces and ensure that we are meeting the challenges of today.

Understanding ‘digital’

Tim talking digital

If you ask people what digital means you will get many different answers ranging from being able to do your banking online through to high tech 5G wireless connectivity. Digital is about all of that and more.  It’s a way of thinking, of operating and of focusing on what your users need to access your services or products.  Digital is not just about technology, as Tom Loosemore put it during his time at the Government Digital Service ‘it’s about applying the culture, practices, processes and technologies of the internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations’.  It’s about your people, your customers, your organisation and your leadership.

This means taking a whole business approach to transformation that extends beyond digitising paper.  It means considering all aspects of people, process and technology and understand how they work together to create results. It is business transformation enabled by digital technology and digital ways of working.

Getting the internal change right is as important as getting the public facing change right.

At the event we took the opportunity to ask a snapshot of attendees to complete a short survey on digital in Wales.  Whilst 60% of respondents said that their organisations understood the potential of digital transformation, 40% stated that their organisation was not using digital effectively to transform and 70% put skills and culture as the main barrier to digital transformation in Wales.

The opportunity

As a business based in Wales we have a stake in the vision for Wales to be at the forefront of digital innovation. The public sector, from central government through to local government and health boards have a key role in leading the way.  At Perago we work to support the transformation of public services in Wales in true collaboration with in house teams, SMEs and other private sector partners.  Real end to end business transformation.  Never has the opportunity, or the prize, been greater for Wales.  As Councillor Stewart reminded us, we need to change our risk appetite.

Let’s talk

We see a massive opportunity for SMEs to play their part, creating an ecosystem to support digital transformation in Wales and particularly in the public sector. We’d love to hear more about the challenges your organisation is facing and we’d also like to link up with other SMEs who believe the opportunity is here to really transform the public sector in Wales.  Drop us a line and let’s start the conversation.

Tim Daley attended the Swansea Bay Futures The Growth Factor event at the Liberty Stadium and reflects on the opportunities and challenges for the region.

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