FutureScot An independent publication from futurescot.com
Introducing Marty the Robot
Growing digital health and care
Game on Timea Tabori on why screen-based play can be good for you
Distributed with The Times Scotland 1 July 2016
Women leading the tech boom
Data science boot camp launched
1 July 2016
Data will be returned via the app to researchers in Dundee
FutureScot is an independent publication by BrandScotland. Contents
2 BRIEFING 4 EDU-TECH 6 DIGITAL HEALTH 8 ENTERPRISE 9 RECRUITMENT 10 ORION HEALTH 11 DIVERSITY 12 COVER STORY 13 FANDUEL 14 DENHOLM ASSOCIATES 15 DATAVITA 16 ITWORX 18 CONNECTIVITY 19 CLOUD ERP 20 SKILLS 21 EDUCATION 22 INVESTMENT 23 LEGAL EDITOR Will Peakin 0131 561 7364 email@example.com DEPUTY EDITOR Kevin O’Sullivan 0131 561 7364 firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING Jake Oszczepalinski
0131 561 7351 email@example.com PUBLISHER Hamish Miller 0131 561 7344 firstname.lastname@example.org FutureScot
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Games technology used to redesign ‘ineffective’ smoke alarms Research project using wireless speakers and app for large-scale test later this year
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By William Peakin Video game developers are helping to design a new smoke detector after studies showed that domestic alarms do not wake most children. Firefighters and forensic scientists have been testing a combination of sounds, which they believe may be more effective. They are planning a large-scale test for the beginning of the school year in September. It will involve users downloading an app to be used in conjunction with a Bluetooth speaker. The testers will set up the alarm and then send the results back via the app. “Games technology comes into play in this phase of testing,” said Dr Dayna Galloway, head of the Games and Arts division at Abertay University. “The aim is to get good data back and the way you do this is design the app in such a way that people find it easy to use. It’s all about good user experience.” The research is being carried out by Nic Daeid, professor of forensic science at Dundee University, and Dave Cross, a fireman and part-time Phd student at the university. Cross was one of the investigators in the Philpott fire when six children were killed after their parents had set fire to their home. The
house was fitted with working smoke alarms, but the children slept through the noise. Cross and Daeid subsequently conducted a trial in which 34 children between the ages of two and 13 were each tested six separate times over a three week period; over 80% of the children slept through all six of the smoke detector alarms. Several sounds have been tried for the new alarm and one has been shown to have a 90% success rate in a study of 41 children; it has been machine generated, but sounds like a lorry reversing, and is interspersed with a human voice alerting people to a fire. “Games design is good at ‘tutorialising’ the user’s interaction so they know what to do at every stage in terms of setting up the alarm, testing and returning data - following the process to the end,” said Galloway. “It could also be used further down the line in the actual product, making it intuitive for people to set up and use.” The researchers emphasise that they support fire service advice that people should not give up smoke alarms, adding that if a saleable product emerges from their work it would be seen as an additional layer of safety not as a replacement.
We need stability but Brexit might not all be doom and gloom Amid the turbulent warnings of what Brexit might mean for Scotland’s economic wellbeing, the tech sector is beginning to wake up to the new reality of being outside the EU. Whether that is temporary (and Scottish independence does eventually happen), or permanent, and we throw our lot in with the rest of the UK, the industry, like any other, needs certainty. Among many calling for calm is Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS, the trade tech body, who tells FutureScot: “Our view is that
stabilising financial and other trading markets has to be the immediate priority to give our members and other businesses some certainty over the next few months.” Although there will be considerable unease among tech businesses - many of whom, particularly in Edinburgh, rely on workers from EU countries, accountancy giant Deloitte has given some cause for optimism. According to Steve Williams – Practice Senior Partner, Scotland and Northern Ireland with Deloitte Scotland – Scotland is
well-placed to weather the economic storms that face businesses across the country in the coming days, weeks, months, and possibly even years. He said: “Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is well positioned to deal with the outcome of the referendum. Our economy remains competitive, innovative and highly-skilled, whether it is in Europe or out. Scotland continues to be an excellent place to do business, with all the necessary attributes to compete and succeed in the global economy.”
1 July 2016
2020 plan to share patient information Portal will allow health boards to exchange medical details The Scottish Government is working on an information portal that will allow the secure sharing of patient information. The initiative can be focused on a patient’s so-called key information summary, which is used by health care professionals working in NHS 24, accident and emergency departments, the Scottish Ambulance Service and out-of-hours pharmacies. Lack of such data sharing is a key issue in the prevention of unscheduled admissions, where medical staff do not having prior knowledge of pre-existing conditions or treatment inevitably leads to overly-cautious diagnosis and avoidable hospital admissions. There is also a need for a common data platform to help share information between health and care.
Health and social care experts gathered in Glasgow for a conference last month organised by digital systems company Communicare247. Eddie Turnbull, director of eHealth at the Scottish Government outlined a vision for integrated digital care. It included the portal, which will enable sharing of data about individual patients between different health boards, which is currently not possible and is expected to be live by 2020. The conference also heard of the urgent need to update Scotland’s home telecare system, currently based on the analogue public phone network. “Scotland needs to realise the vision for digitally-enabled care now,” said Tom Morton, chief executive of Communicare247. “It’s time to move on from these grossly inefficient analogue systems that do not meet the current needs of our citizens and hamper Scotland’s aspirations for world-class homebased care.”
Health professionals will have access to digital summaries
Scots software blocks sale of fakes worth £3bn BY WILLIAM PEAKIN An Edinburgh-based team of multilingual data analysts is in discussions with Amazon, eBay and China’s e-commerce platform Alibaba about combatting the £1.3 trillion global trade in counterfeit goods. SnapDragon was founded by Rachel Jones after she discovered that the portable high chair she devised had been copied and she realised that the techniques used to combat the counterfeiters could be used by other companies. Since it was formed 15 months ago, SnapDragon has been successful in having £3bn-worth of counterfeit goods removed from the market. “The rise in intellectual property infringement is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today,” said Jones. “Every sector is affected by IP abuse, but SMEs can be particularly vulnerable as registration and enforcement costs can escalate quickly, especially when operating in an international marketplace.” Ten years ago, Jones devised Totseat, a fabric harness that adapts to securely fit chairs, after becoming frustrated at the lack of high chairs in public places and the cleanliness of those that did ex-
ist. It is now sold around the world, but Jones also soon saw cheap copies being sold online and has developed expertise in fighting the fakers. “SnapDragon did not start as a business model – we have had practical experience of manufacturing and defending a brand, globally,” she said. Jones and colleagues have twice met Alibaba executives at their headquarters in Hangzhou and are liaising with the counterparts at Amazon and eBay. The major platforms are keen to protect the credibility of their sites, said Jones. The team comprises Jones, a head of research, technical lead and eight multi-lingual data analysts. They use proprietary software to monitor, report and remove infringing goods from more than 200 e-commerce platforms around the globe, protecting clients’ brands, revenue “and most importantly, unsuspecting customers,” said Jones. It also works with partners to help companies secure intellectual property rights, and with commercial law firm MacRoberts. SnapDragon has supported many Scottish companies to protect their IP, including Glencairn Crystal and the makers of MorphCostumes. Over the last 10 months, SnapDragon
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has identified more than 180 sellers infringing Morphsuits’ IP rights and successfully removed more than 600 links to more than a million infringing items from on-line marketplaces and social media sites around the world. “SnapDragon has definitely reduced the number of counterfeits for sale which is very good news for our customers and our business,” said Graeme Menzies, finance director of AFG Media. It also introduced the company to the Intellectual Assets Centre at Scottish Enterprise and led the firm’s European CITEX registration. “Our success has come from offering an affordable, results oriented approach that allows SMEs to exert control over their IP rights - just as a multi-national business does - at a fraction of the cost,” said Jet Doran, head of research. “With SnapDragon as the first port of call for e-commerce infringements, legal and IP support can be focussed on strategic activity rather than day to day take-downs, saving time and money.” In celebration of the first ‘British IP Day’ on 5 July, SnapDragon is offering a free trial to anyone concerned about the potential impact of IP infringement on their business.
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1 July 2016 Alexander Enoch has taken his creation, Marty, to trade shows and science festivals, where it has proved a big hit with children and parents alike
Meet Marty: he can walk and dance – and teach you coding The robot wars are about to heat up as Edinburgh inventor Alexander Enoch takes his creation to the booming worldwide educational toy market BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN It’s hard not to have a soft spot for inventors. Especially one who churns out bits of moulded plastic through a 3D printer, adds springs and coils and tiny little electronic components, to eventually assemble a charming little robot, who can walk. And even dance. You might even say that Alexander Enoch, its creator, is a bit of a modern day Gepetto as he toils away in his workshop putting together his lovingly
assembled droid, called Marty. With his flying saucer eyes, and cartoonish head, it’s hard to see how Marty could be anything other than an instant hit with kids. But there is something else lurking behind the characterful exterior of Enoch’s creation: Marty is fully programmable. He has a brain that the user – if they familiarise themselves with a bit of entry-level code – can instruct to do things. “It comes as a kit that you can build,” says Enoch, who has a PhD in ‘walking robots’ from Edinburgh University. “And it’s also got wi-fi so you can play with it like a remote control toy. But then, when you want to, you can start to programme it in a few different coding languages. Scratch is the really easy one. It’s just a bunch of blocks that you click and drag together to make a programme, but it’s got all the concepts of programming in there so it’s a nice way to get stuck in. And then when you’re ready you can start on full
1 July 2016
programming languages like Python or C++. You can do all this via an app.” Programmable toys are now all the rage as the global trend for making so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects more accessible to kids gathers pace. As educators face up to the challenge of making mathematics – through coding – more interactive, and enjoyable, a raft of new products has entered a market that is predicted to grow from $1bn to $2bn by 2020, according to analysts Markets and Markets. And it’s fair to say the impact of programmable toys went intergalactic last year when Star Wars: The Force Awakens featured a Sphero, in the form of the droid, BB-8. Enoch’s company, Robotical, still has some way to go to crack the market itself. But as a start-up, the signs have been positive thus far: at the recent EIE Investor Showcase in Edinburgh, the company attracted a considerable amount of interest from investors. WHEN I CATCH UP with Enoch after
the event, he tells me that he had about seven or eight initial expressions of interest and there were around three very serious contenders to invest in the project. Robotical has also just secured a £60,000 investment at the recent Scottish Edge funding competition, and has raised just under £20,000 of a £50,000 target on crowdfunding site IndieGogo. “It’s all so we can get the product
ready for market,” says Enoch. “Ideally, I’d like to raise around £200,000 although some are saying that £150,000 would be the level as that’s where the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme kicks in. That’s the level where you have tax breaks for investment. But that’s ok, I can work with that.” Enoch himself has a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is aged just 30. He is a scientist through and through, but after running out of money to complete his PhD he took a job as a trainee patent attorney to try and fund the rest of his studies. “That was good but wasn’t for me,” he says candidly. “I found myself when we had inventors in and we were speaking to them, as they were writing a patent application, I was wishing that I was the other side of the table, being the inventor. So that was one of the things that spurred me on to go and start up the company.” Whilst admitting not all aspects of business come easy to him, it’s clear he has set about entrepreneurship in the right spirit. Aided by some business mentors – acquired through Edinburgh Research & Innovation – Enoch’s endeavours have already been featured on the BBC and in the national media, all without much of a budget at all. He has done much of the online marketing himself, but is seeking to add to his staff so he can focus on what he is naturally good at: product development. Amidst all the frenzied activities of a start-up, as well as seeking the right
“Robotics is a nice way to get into the very different aspects of science and engineering” Alexander Enoch, founder, Robotical
distributors, he is also interested in taking Marty into a physical store. I tell him that I could see the robot, which is priced at £100 on the crowdfunding site, but may well sell for less if Enoch can drive the manufacturing costs down, in a store such as John Lewis. You can imagine a programmable robot being a hit not just with kids, but with parents who are keen on trying to teach their offspring computing fundamentals almost by stealth. “I think it’s the perfect spot for that kind of market,” says Enoch. “It might just walk off the shelves.” One thing Enoch is acutely aware of, he tells me, is the issue of positioning an educational toy in the market. “The positioning is a tricky one,” he adds. “If we can get the right distributors and follow the same route as the Raspberry Pi that would probably be a good way to go. “I think if we were to go with toy shops it would be next to the Lego or the more technical toys. I’d like to try putting it in different schools to try and prove the educational credentials but it’s very much trying to market it as a consumer product. There’s a fine line to be trod there, I think.” UNLIKE SOME products Enoch is also keen to involve a community of buyers in further developing and enhancing it. He is happy to release Marty’s design files online, so anyone who has access to a 3D printer can manufacture new com-
ponents, and potentially add sensors. “I’d like to see people be able to customise it and see what they can make,” he adds. “That would be very cool. It would be the equivalent of an app store where people can share what they make. Robotics is a nice way to get into the very different aspects of science and engineering. “ As for the future, once Marty is successfully brought to market, Enoch would like to develop further ideas. His inventor spirit is irrepressible, but when I ask what kinds of creations he’s thinking of next, he’s understandably a bit reluctant to reveal his next big idea. However, as we amuse ourselves talking about the next generation of robots – which he thinks will “explode” in the next 10 years – he suggests that consumer and service robotics will probably be the focus of most manufacturers. “These things are now coming of age and they don’t look like the traditional big, bulky household robot,” he says. “They’re a probably a few years down the line but I think one of most useful would be a sous chef, because that’s what takes the most amount of time, all the prepping of the veg.” “We’re just concentrating on getting this product done, and done well,” he stresses. “But in future I envisage we will do other products and branch out from educational toys. If all goes well we’ll be building up a company with a lot of expertise and we can move into those areas.”
DIGITAL HEALTH AND CARE
1 July 2016
Digital technology is transforming the way that information is stored, analysed, shared, and used across the whole circle of care
Scotland has the right mix for digital health and care
The sector is on track for growth thanks to its integrated health and care system, ideal test bed environment and rich patient data BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
tion: what works in cities might prove impossible in rural areas. That’s not to mention the challenges of prototyping and getting your product to market. Scotland’s thriving digital health and care sector is proof that the country has a perfect mix of these factors. From the integrated health and social care system to the mix of urban, rural and remote areas, the future of Scotland’s digital health and care sector is extremely promising.
What does the future of patient records look like? You can forget about the reams of paper, the terrible handwriting, the vast quantity of information locked away in the filing cabinets of hospitals, medical practices and pharmacies. Digital technology is transforming the way that information is stored, analysed, shared, and used across the whole circle of care. From paperless patient records to managing the health of entire populations, technology is rapidly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. But these changes don’t happen overnight. New technology needs the right combination of factors to succeed: plenty of data to use, a co-operative health board, access to detailed patient records for whole populations. And then there’s the question of loca-
Scotland moves to paperless systems Scotland has a strong cluster of companies developing specific software to replace paper health records. Nugensis, for instance, provides data visualisation software to gather patient health data from a range of sources, making it easily accessible for the people who need it most. The software makes sharing and handing over care more efficient – cutting the time that people spend catching up, and keeping everyone updated on a single platform. There are also Glasgow-based companies such as Cohesion and AxSys that design software to improve clinical decision making – from tabletbased data entry during consultations, to running detailed analytics and accessing complete patient medical history. These products are developed
alongside health boards in Scotland, bringing together the collaborative power of NHS Scotland with some of the country’s best IT specialists. Using a mobile device to collect health data has applications beyond the hospital ward. Cojengo, also based in Glasgow, has developed an app designed to diagnose illness among livestock in remote rural areas. The app will allow vets and farmers in Kenya, for instance, to better monitor livestock and to react quickly when there is a problem. Scotland has the talent for digital health companies None of this could happen without the talented people to write the code, test the products, and develop the software that changes lives. Alongside the 200,000 health staff in Scotland, there are 73,000 people who currently work in digital technology – and around 7,000 people working in digital health and care companies. Businesses looking for fresh talent have plenty of graduates to choose from. Scotland produces 17,000 graduates each year who have specific digital health expertise – and the University of Edinburgh is home to a dedicated Digital Health Doctoral Training Centre. That’s just one of the reasons that Scotland attracts big global players.
DIGITAL HEALTH AND CARE
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“Scotland has a huge network of mobile health and technology startups through which to learn and build partnerships” Jo Halliday “We set up in Glasgow because that’s where the talent is,” says Nick Willox, Regional Lead for Orion Health, a health-specific software company based in New Zealand. “Recruiting here has been very rewarding. The west of Scotland is a rich hunting ground for staff with clinical expertise, project management, and support staff.” Access to patient data that spans lifetimes When building innovative software to address some of the key problems in healthcare delivery, data is the first concern. That’s where Scotland has an edge: it’s a perfect test bed environment, giving companies access to complete health data that spans a patient’s entire life. That makes it much easier for companies to test their solutions on rich datasets, making for more efficient, useful outcomes. It’s not just about the data though. Scotland also has a broad mix of urban, rural and remote areas. So you can test solutions for dense urban populations, as well as isolated rural communities. Innovative opportunities with the Digital Health Institute The Digital Health Institute (DHI) helps to get projects off the ground. It focuses on three areas: stimulating ideas, prototyping them, and taking them to market. The institute provides comprehensive support, and has had recent success with Talking Medicines. The company has developed an app to allow patients to discover more about their medication, encouraging correct use and improving the treatment. Patients scan their medicines with a smartphone, and the app displays information in an easily understood, intuitive way. Jo Halliday, co-founder and director of the company, puts the success of Talking Medicine (see panel right) down to the network of support from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Digital Health Institute. “Through them we have been able to unlock a great deal of support, from market intelligence and industry contacts to valuable networking opportunities and financial assistance. “As a nation with a reputation for innovation, Scotland has a huge network of mobile health and technology startups through which to learn and build partnerships.” The Government’s eHealth strategy demonstrates the country’s commitment to more efficient digital healthcare. With support from government agencies such as Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise, the sector is already set on the path to growth.
How tablets help you take tablets One company is using image recognition and augmented reality to help engage patients For many people, understanding medicines and treatments can be complex and frustrating. This can lead to failures in following GP instructions and ultimately, the worsening of their health. Founded in 2013, Talking Medicines has developed a mobile digital solution to the problem. Using augmented reality platform Blippar, Talking Medicines enables patients to access enhanced information about their medication from a single access point, using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The industry-approved service provides users with engaging information in an interactive and easy to understand format, including dosage instructions, administration technique videos, built-in notifications and links to real-time services. The medical assets provided are secure and link directly to the medical device or packaging, ensuring that the right information gets to the right person at the right time. With an ageing population and the rapid increase in lifestyle and agerelated diseases putting pressure on healthcare services, ensuring patients take their medicine correctly has never been more important. This not only affects the patient. Poor medical adherence contributes significantly to increased cost and pressure on services for healthcare
Patients seeking enhanced dosage information can scan medicines with their tablet or smartphone providers, often at hundreds or thousands of times the cost of the medication itself, with huge social economic impact. By helping to boost compliance figures by between two and nine per cent, Talking Medicines has attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies and government agencies around the world. The technology also allows physicians and veterinary professionals to track compliance and behaviour, enabling them to support
their patients’ needs further. From its base in Scotland, Talking Medicines has been able to develop an international network to help build its business. The company has worked with Scottish Enterprise since its early days via its account management service. It has also developed an excellent relationship with the Digital Health Institute (DHI), helping it build an international support network and develop an overseas sales and marketing strategy.
Talking Medicines’ co-founder and director, Jo Halliday, credits the country’s integrated support network, including Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Digital Health Institute for helping the company achieve its success to date. “This network has also opened doors to the academic community, through which the University of Glasgow has helped use economic modelling to inform our business pitches and demonstrate return on investment.”
A multi-media approach to medicine Designing digital resources for doctors BY NATALIE LAFFERTY AND COLLEAGUES For decades, Gray’s Anatomy has been a go-to reference for medical students wanting to learn and revise anatomy. However, with advances in technology, students now gravitate to animations and videos with 3D models and visualisations that help develop their understanding. As medical schools look to create media-rich resources to support student learning, it’s clear that the design process is more effective when approached as a partnership that includes medical illustrators, clinicians and surgeons, educationalists and students. Over the past few years, Dundee University’s School of Medicine has been developing these design partnerships – taken to a new level with the appointment of medical illustrator Annie Campbell. The design of digital learning resources in the Dundee medical curriculum involves members of the Technology and Innovation in Learning Team working with colleagues in the School of Medicine and clinical teachers in NHS Tayside.
The team leads the educational, multimedia and artistic design and clinicians bring their medical expertise. The team also runs and teaches a student-selected module, the ‘Doctor as Digital Teacher and Resource Developer’, which sees students create their own digital learning resources. While most students will have some form of teaching responsibility in their career as a doctor, this module introduces students to learning theory, multimedia design, presentation design and issues around copyright. Students apply this knowledge and develop their educational, design and digital skills as they go on to create a digital learning resource to support student learning in the Dundee curriculum. These resources also have the potential to be reused to support patient communication. This design partnership model is one that can be applied to many other creative areas particularly in educational settings. Much of the work has been openly licensed for other individuals to reuse, remix and modify including the public who can engage with our work on publicly accessible platforms such as a Vimeo channel – from here people can also 3D print the model. ‘Under the Digital Skin’, a presentation prepared for the recent Dundee Design Festival, shows one of these
projects developed by third-year medical student Zoe Kirkham-Mowbray, creator of ‘Anatomy of the Larynx’, a trio of 3D videos. The videos provide an overview of its anatomy, look at its membranes and muscles and provide insights into the pathology of the larynx in relation to cancer. The series was developed through an iterative creative process, involving storyboarding and scriptwriting, which benefited from feedback on design, clinical and educational perspectives.
The partnership work is allowing Dundee University’s School of Medicine to take a creative approach to triangulating the different aspects of the design process and training the next generation of doctors for their role as teachers. Natalie Lafferty, Zoe Kirkham-Mowbray and Annie Campbell, University of Dundee, and Rodney Mountain, NHS Tayside. * https://vimeo.com/dundeetilt
DIGITAL HEALTH AND CARE
1 July 2016
The companies spearheading Scotland’s digital healthcare technology revolution Firms at the forefront of delivering a better, more integrated form of care By Kevin O’Sullivan Digital technology is transforming the way patient information is stored, analysed, shared, and used across the whole circle of care. From paperless patient records to managing the health of entire populations, technology is rapidly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. Scotland has a strong cluster of companies developing specific software to replace paper health records. Nugensis, for instance, provides data visualisation software to gather patient health data from a range of sources, making it easily accessible for the people who need it most. The software makes sharing and handing over care more efficient – cutting the time that people spend catching up, and keeping everyone updated on a single platform. There are also Glasgow-based companies like Cohesion and AxSys that design software to improve clinical decision making – from tablet-based data entry during consultations, to running detailed analytics and accessing complete patient medical history. These products are developed alongside health boards in Scotland – bringing together the collaborative power of NHS Scotland with some of the country’s best IT specialists. Using a mobile device to collect health data has applications beyond the ward. Cojengo, also based in Glasgow, has developed an app designed to diagnose illness among livestock in remote rural areas. The app will allow vets and farmers in Kenya, for instance, to better monitor livestock – and react quickly when there’s a problem. Here are some of the companies that are leading the way as health and social care systems become integrated, offering ever more personalised and targeted forms of care.
Scotland’s digital health and care sector is on track for growth, due to its integrated health and care system
Priding itself on a customer-led approach, Nugensis tailors its products to each client’s specific needs. For example, WardView, an awardwinning whiteboard application, was developed in response to the needs of Scottish health boards. It provides health professionals with real-time information on patient and bed status. By interfacing with existing hospital systems, it helps to reduce duplication and the administrative burden on staff. WardView is so effective that, after witnessing it in action, the Scottish Government actively sought extra funding for more hospitals to implement the system. http://www.nugensis.co.uk/
Ohmedics spun out from the University of Strathclyde in 2009 to commercialise a unique sensor technology for wound care. The first product, WoundSense™, monitors moisture in wound dressings to allow a decision on the need for a dressing change without disturbing the dressing itself. WoundSense™ is supplied as a sterile, single-use, disposable sensor suitable for use with any wound dressing and it is targeting the hospital, community healthcare and pharmacy sectors. Scotland is an ideal base for Ohmedics in terms of the wide range of skills available in potential employees and the great research facilities available in the universities. In particular, the University of Strathclyde expertise in medical technology has been a vital support on its journey to market. http://www.ohmedics.com/
AxSys is a company that is based in Scotland and founded in 2000 by a husband and wife team of two doctors following a career spanning 20 years of clinical practice. The company
developed a software platform that connects the healthcare environment so enabling patient care to be coordinated across specialties and clinical disciplines. This enables key clinical information to be shared between the care team and patients in a timely manner. The software platform is architected in a way that diverse information can be collected from disparate sources, aggregated and stored in a semantically contextual manner within the framework of a health record. Smart functions that include a rules engine, alerts, analytics and decision support act on data elements stored within the platform to support quality and consistency of care delivered. The platform was named “Excelicare” as a representation for “Promoting Excellence in Care”. http://www.axsysinc.com/
Cohesion Medical have designed a Psoriasis Clinic Database which is being used clinically at the Dermatology Department, Glasgow Western Infirmary by Professor Burden and his team to improve Patient-Treatment Outcomes and further clinical research in psoriasis. Since deploying its software solution, the clinic’s consultants have been able to use the application for in-clinic purposes including fast data-entry consultations with patients
and immediate data history viewing with graphical information display and many easy to use features. Staff can use the application at any time, regardless of location. Satellite clinic administration of patient records which was considerable is therefore virtually eliminated. This has lowered the hospital administration costs considerably. http://www.cohesionmedical.com/
A mobile phone app designed by a group of former Strathclyde University students is helping thousands of African farmers to diagnose diseases in their livestock. The VetAfrica App, developed by Glasgow-based tech firm Cojengo, allows farmers to spot conditions that can blight cattle herds using just their smartphones. Cojengo, which is being supported by Microsoft East Africa, has been able to roll out the app to thousands of farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda. Such is the take-up rate of the app among farming communities, the company is now working in partnership with Obi Mobiles, which distributes cheap but high spec smartphones across the developing world. http://www.cojengo.com/
A new e-Document management system has now sent more than 100,000 patient records ‘from lab to doctor’ across Scotland’s regional NHS boards. The Docman system – already widely used by GP practices to manage patient data – has been further developed to allow hospital test results to be transmitted directly onto GPs’ computer screens. The system – developed by PCTI and managed in Scotland by Kilmarnock-based Microtech– cuts down on unnecessary paperwork, administration and reduces delay between testing and diagnosis. Data is managed securely across the NHS’s N3 network – which has 3 million end users and more than 40,000 connections in England and Scotland. Natalie Berry, Project Manager at Microtech, explains: “In a GP practice at the moment paper records are all being manually scanned in, which takes time. Whereas with the electronic document management system, the hospital can send the data directly, and it’s a lot more secure as well, compared to sending a letter by mail.” http://www.microtechsupport.co.uk/ healthcare-technology http://www.microtechsupport.co.uk/
1 July 2016
There might be openings galore in the tech market but that doesn’t mean job hunters should go it alone The downside risks of not getting it right in complex contract negotiations should bring more job hunters back to the agency side BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN Despite there being an oversupply of technology jobs in Scotland in relation to the number of people to fill them, a leading recruiter has warned candidates not to be ‘complacent’. Sam Wason, Director of Edinburghbased Cathcart Associates, says in a burgeoning market with rich rewards candidates are running the risk of ‘overegging’ their achievements. He said in the rush to get the top jobs, some job-hunters are forgetting the basic principles, like only ‘showing what you know’. “This is definitely something which happens quite a lot and it really shouldn’t,” he explains. “We say to candidates all the time ‘don’t overegg it, don’t put something on your CV if it’s not something you genuinely understand or have concrete experience of.
They may think it qualifies if they have read a book about it but it will soon become fairly obvious at the technical skills test. Be honest about what you can do because scatter-gunning technology on your CV according to keywords that you might see in a job search is frustrating for both recruiters and employees.” At the recent Scot-Cloud conference in Edinburgh, Pete Wilcox of Adobe DevOps also highlighted the problem with applicants over-exaggerating their technical skills for development roles. He advised the audience that candidates are much better off focusing on the areas of expertise and knowledge where they are proficient, rather than those they might have had limited exposure to. AS A RESPONSE the company, which
has offices in George Street, has come up with a series of tips for candidates hoping to find their way in the jobs market; firstly, they shouldn’t feel frightened of leaving a job they are in if they think they are being undervalued for the position they hold; secondly, they should consider using a recruitment agency who’s experienced in the market (Cathcart Associates would obviously happily assist!); thirdly, they
“It’s a complicated process, with a lot of risk attached, and requires skill and the art of negotiation” Sam Wason, Director, Cathcart Associates” should be realistic about salary expectations and skill sets and fourthly they should not worry about their CVs. “That might seem a little strange,” adds Wason. “But CVs really are the last thing you should worry about. People are very set in their ways in that a CV should only be two pages long, or that it should be nicely designed. The truth is, in our experience, is that it doesn’t really matter. If you have done a lot of contract work and stretches to five pages, then that’s fine. If the con-
tent is relevant, that is the main thing.” Candidates are advised to include LinkedIn profiles or web links to their portfolios (the latter if they’ve done a lot of front-end design work, especially), but otherwise a CV is fine. “An employer ultimately wants to look at a CV to find a bit more out about where you went to school, Uni or where you live. But once that sifting process is done, it’s really just all about the interview and managing the process through.” Ultimately, Wason adds, if the job is right for the candidate and the candidate right for the job, then it simply comes down to whether the two can work together. “And that’s why we say definitely work with an agency; we have the relationships with the clients - and know how to make a good match. A client will always prefer to get a candidate through an agency as they get a steady stream of good people and they don’t have to trawl through irrelevant applications.” Wason warns candidates are also choosing to ‘go it alone’ and seek jobs with employers directly, tempted by the wide variety of choice in what has become a ‘seller’s market’ for tech job hunters.
He said there is too often little appreciation of the complexity of securing the right package if candidates negotiate directly with employers. And that people very rarely go it alone when making other potentially lifealtering decisions, like the purchase of a house. “I think the buying and selling of a house is the perfect analogy; most people would never consider doing a direct sale of a property, for obvious reasons. It’s a complicated process, with a lot of risk attached, and requires skill and the art of negotiation. Of course we understand why candidates in the job market might be tempted to go directly to an employer but at the same time there is a process to be gone through and it can be difficult to navigate alone.” Wason said recruiters can help candidates with regards to putting together CVs, portfolios, and with the right introduction to an employer so that they are well represented. “We manage the whole process,” he adds. “We manage the interview, negotiate salaries and iron out all the flaws and problems that might occur. It’s not just about the introduction: that’s one of the services we provide - it’s about successfully seeing the whole thing through to conclusion.”
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DIGITAL HEALTH AND CARE
1 July 2016
Electronic medical records are making today’s hospitals smarter Orion Health is at the forefront of tech companies delivering a new, more integrated form of care
About Orion Health
By Kevin O’Sullivan
l Its proven end-to-end solution has the capability to seamlessly bring together all of an individual’s health and social care information. As a result, clinicians and caregivers can collaborate in real time, whilst actively engaging individuals in their own care and wellness.
Scotland’s drive towards greater integration of health and social care provision aims to ensure that those who use services get the right care and support whatever their needs, wherever they are in their care journey. Ideally, people will be able to stay in their homes. Sharing information between patients and care providers will be central to this drive; the current practice of asking people to travel great distances into busy hospitals, so they can share simple facts that could easily be gathered through other means, is unsustainable. Getting the right technology is essential for this. But, as might be expected, hospitals and councils have a myriad of IT systems in place. Getting information from healthcare teams to council social care teams is a real stumbling block on the road to more joined up, integrated care. However, Scotland is already ahead in removing those barriers to progress. A new era for Scottish digital health “I think there’s a real dawning in Scotland about how healthcare technology is starting to improve and support the transformation of care. That means providing more healthcare closer to the patient’s home and in the community, with visiting a hospital becoming the last resort,” explains Nick Willox, Sales Director for Scotland at Orion Health. For the past decade, Orion Health has used its cutting-edge software to allow patient information to be pulled together into a single record in Scotland. It has addressed the complicated task of pooling data from multiple systems, giving clinicians access to all the information they need at their fingertips to help them more effectively manage patients under their care. “There’s recognition in all developed countries of the need to provide better access to healthcare data. In Scotland, as in other parts of the UK, health boards have a multitude of systems, but no system to bring it all together to give you one single intuitive view.” “This single view of a patient means a doctor can make a more informed decision of what course of medical action to take as they have a fuller picture of a patient’s medical history and background. This also results in more coordinated care helping to reduce unnecessary hospital visits, fewer duplication of tests, plus patients do not have to remember all of their details and keep repeating it to each clinician they are seen by.” Six NHS health boards across the country, serving around half its population, are now using Orion Health’s range of software solutions, which
l Orion Health is a global leader in healthcare technology, advancing Population Health Management and Precision Medicine solutions enabling personalised care across the entire health community.
Contact us l E: email@example.com l P +44 870 486 8406 l W: orionhealth.com l A: Orion Health, The Hub, 70 Pacific Quay, Pacific Drive, G51 1DZ Factfile l 100 million + patient records held globally l 70+ customers in the UK & Ireland l 16 staff in Glasgow office l 15 years’ experience in the NHS l Headquartered in New Zealand
Orion Health’s platform allow clinicians to access all the appropriate patient information in one place include a clinical portal, clinical workflow tools and a patient portal. The firm, which was founded in New Zealand, is also helping with the Scottish Government-mandated task of integrating health and social care services. “By implementing our software, we’ve allowed health boards and more recently, local authorities to bring information together from many different systems,” adds Willox. “The result? Safer, more effective care. And the care teams are one step further along in the move to a paperless environment.” He adds: “Our experience speaks for itself – we’ve been delivering integrated care solutions in the UK and Ireland for over 15 years, supporting around 20 million individual patient records. We estimate our technology is used by 120,000 clinical and administration staff to support health services. ” Paperless hospitals Underpinning the move to integrated care, as Willox suggests, is for health boards to move from paper-based processes to working in a digital environment. NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, the largest health board in the UK, delivers services through 35 major hospitals, 10 specialised units and 50 health centers and clinics, and has made significant strides in this area. With an unprecedented building programme in recent years to replace ageing Victorian buildings, the board also embarked on a massive modernisation of its own approach to data. This included becoming ‘paper-free’ by implementing Orion Health’s integration technology to deliver an Electronic Health Record (EHR), providing a single unified patient medical record regardless of where the patient lived or where the clinician was located.
As a result of implementing Orion Health’s technology, staff are also able to intuitively access all the relevant laboratory test information they need via a single click of the mouse where previously that could involve navigating many different screens. “We are delighted with the way the systems have allowed staff to get all the information they need, in a much quicker and more time efficient manner,” adds Willox. Beyond the boundaries Orion Health operates in 17 countries, managing in excess of 100 million patient records, but has a committed local approach in the Scottish market,
“This single view of a patient means a doctor can make a more informed decision of what course of medical action to take as they have a fuller picture of a patient’s background” Nick Willox
and opened an office in Glasgow last year to be closer to its customers and work with the thriving Scottish technology workforce. And as of April, it has worked with NHS Fife and two local authorities on a very successful pilot to draw together information from many different sources, in line with the new integrated health and social care approach. These include consultants, GPs, nurses, social care, families, friends, communities and other care organisations. “That has been successful and, now the pilot has recently come to an end, we are in discussions with Fife on the next steps as to where we take it from there. But there is a keenness to expand its use,” adds Willox. Sharing information One of the key developments in recent years from health boards has been that systems allow them to share data, not just within their own jurisdiction, but with neighbouring boards as well. Orion Health has met that challenge and has recently gone live on a ‘portal to portal’ system with its West of Scotland health board clients, allowing much greater sharing of patient information between clinicians across the region. This has particular relevance for patients in areas such as NHS Dumfries & Galloway, who may travel to Glasgow for a specialist service. The portal approach allows hospital consultants to view the patient’s local records to get a fuller picture of who they are treating. The linked portals will initially provide a read-only view of patient information, with Orion Health’s sophisticated role-based access features to ensure only those with appropriate seniority can view the record. Each board decides what information to make available through the portal.
The future of medicine The rapid pace of change with both software and new hardware devices, as well as new advances in population health management, have given rise to increasingly sophisticated requirements from public health policy teams. Orion Health is rising to that challenge. As people become more accustomed to using smartphones and tablets, the company is fine-tuning modern, 21st century solutions, which enable a much more patient-centric, personalised form of care. It also fits an emerging policy focus which seeks to empower patients by giving them greater access to their own data. Orion Health’s work with the specialist Golden Jubilee National Hospital illustrates these capabilities. It is working with the health board on a pilot project that will help support the management of knee and hip replacement patients with long-term post-operative care needs. Thanks to an innovative trial that Orion Health has begun with its client, a new patient portal will allow patients to be ‘remotely triaged’ at the critical stages in their periodic post-surgery follow-up assessments for hip replacement patients – saving them unnecessary and longdistance trips to see specialists, whose time will be freed up to see only those patients who require further treatment and improving the patient experience. Pioneering research and development work is also ongoing at its New Zealand headquarters to develop targeted ‘precision medicine’ solutions to enable the real-time capture of patient information through remote monitoring devices, to instantly analyse that data and improve patient outcomes. To that end Orion Health is investing $38m (NZD) to provide that better, safer future.
1 July 2016
Technology careers should be open to people of all gender identities, physical abilities, neurotypical or atypical people, religions and ethnicities
Anticipating the shape of things to come Girl Geek Scotland launches mentoring programme BY MORNA SIMPSON Careers in digital technology have rarely been straightforward. In my working life we have seen the arrival of the home PC; the domination of the web by Google; the rise of cloud-based software and social media, and more recently, real time data analysis in the internet of things. When I started out The Agile Manifesto (sounding every bit like a call to political activists) had just been written. It is now so mainstream that it is used by big corporates and banks. We would all like to pretend that we planned things this way, but that is seldom true of this fast-paced world. Many people who got into digital at the same time as me did not study computing. Some jumped on board, excited by the prospect of what this technology could bring to the world, others were ‘accidental developers’ doing a job that had to be done, because nobody else in the office knew how. They developed an opportunistic approach to career, as nobody really knew the shape of things to come.
At least in digital the way forward is clearer. You can study a range of different subjects in computing at university, and there are clear steps you can take as your career progresses. Even so, Scotland has a skills deficit in technology, and as the demand from industry increases, this deficit poses a serious threat to our economy. It is well know that there are far fewer females entering technology careers than men. There are issues in the pipeline which mean that women do not choose STEM-based careers, and there are also big drop-out points during university, and then again after childbirth. What is clear is that 50% of the population is facing bias, which prevents them from having successful careers in this area.
as what skills and qualifications they need, what experience they need and what relationships to pursue, while women are blandly told that they need “more confidence”. It is also not clear how much of this difference in response to women is conscious. My own anecdotal experience tells me that men (more often the mentors) can be afraid to give criticism of any type to women. They can be afraid of tears, and somewhat ironically, afraid of accusations of sexism. We also mustn’t forget that many men have simply been brought up to treat women gently.
WOMEN TEND TO socialise differ-
“We hope it will make the path a little more straight forward for the coming generations”
ently from men, and this has been the findings of many social and cultural linguistic studies. This means they follow different patterns of behaviour, word choices and even present the same information differently. It may be those communication differences that leads to women being mentored differently from men. The research doesn’t tell us why. What we do know is that men are more likely to be given constructive criticism such
Thankfully we are now seeing more and more women in these promoted positions… and I’ve rarely met a man in a senior position who did not fully understand and support the need for equality in the workplace. Within the Girl Geek Scotland community there is a feeling that mentoring could have a huge impact on the gender balance in technology – and if we are going to create change, support is needed on both sides. We must support people starting out in their careers to get access to advice, and we must support mentors to offer better and more structured feedback. On both sides there is a need to understand the pitfalls of unconscious bias, and how to navigate them. GIRL GEEK SCOTLAND launched its
mentoring programme on June 4 this year, as part of the ScotlandJS International Conference. The event was well received with 98 people registering for a ‘serious game’ run by The InclusIQ Institute. As with all our events it was open to people of all gender identities, physical abilities, neurotypical or atypical people, religions and ethnicities. We will be holding our first networking event for this programme in August, where we expect a lot of attendees to be both mentors and men-
tees. Registration will be ongoing – so please do pass the word around your networks. Girl Geek Scotland will run the events, but it will be our sponsors in leading technology businesses and recruitment agencies that will match mentees with experienced people in the industry. For people in every age group working in technology, it is an opportunity to both give back and to receive. We hope it will make the path a little more straightforward for the coming generations. A huge thanks goes to our sponsors for this ongoing commitment: Edinburgh Napier, Bright Red Triangle, Engima People Solutions, Spring Personnel, Cathcart Associates, Administrate, Amazon Development Centre Scotland, Informatic Ventures and SICSA. We are still exploring how best to run a mentoring programme and would welcome input from the wider community. More information on joining our community and sponsoring the network is available on our website www.girlgeekscotland.com. Events also announced on @girlgeekscot Follow Morna Simpson on Twitter @girlgeeks
1 July 2016
Timea Tabori, game engine programmer at Rockstar North and Chair, IGDA Scotland
Around the world, virtual and real Creativity and determination fuelled Timea Tabori’s journey from Eastern Europe to Scotland, via Ireland By William Peakin Growing up as an only child at the turn of the millennium in a small town outside the Hungarian capital Budapest, Timea Tabori was fascinated with creating games. “I started crafting word games out of paper and sticky tape. I was always nagging my mum: ‘Can we get a company to make my game?’ Then I found this software on the internet that let you make point and click adventure games and I thought: ‘Wow, I can make them myself and not have to pay someone!’ ” Eleven years old, Tabori became consumed with research into programming, 3D modelling and more based on books from America she bought online, which had the added benefit of improving her English. “The thing that grabbed me about it as a medium was that you could create a world and generate different experiences. The idea that there could be a living, breathing world in this machine was mind-blowing for me; it went way beyond being a piece of piece of metal to become this powerful story-telling device.” Tabori enjoyed logic and problem solving: “What if I could combine my love for logic, maths and computers with my love for creating worlds and telling stories. I finally realised that this could be a job and could be a living. My parents were very supportive. My
friends didn’t really understand. I got a lot of resistance: ‘It’s not a real job.’” She began looking for universities that could support her ambition and, with few opportunities in Hungary, a family holiday in Ireland pointed the way. At 16, she left home and finished her schooling there, in the process winning a day’s internship at Microsoft. Noting her enthusiasm for computer games, a former employee of Dundee-based developer Realtime Worlds told her about the courses run by Abertay University. In 2013, she graduated with a first class honours degree in computer games technology. Today, aged 25, she is an engine programmer at Rockstar North in Edinburgh, best known for its development of the Grand Theft Auto series. “The engine is the core technology – the brain and central nervous system, if you like – that a game is built on,” said Tabori. “So, for example we use streaming to load what you would expect to see, depending on what direction you are travelling in a game, but no more because computers do not have enough memory to cope with the huge amount of data that is in a game. We work on these kinds of optimisations, complex mathematical calculations, to make a game run smoothly; if we do our job right, no-one should notice our work.” Tabori enjoys the collaborative nature of games development, working with storytellers, artists, illustrators, animators and many more disciplines: “It’s extremely rewarding to work in a creative team combining so many different talents. “In games development, there isn’t a skill you don’t need because you are creating worlds – and the skills
necessary to do that reflect real-world skills. There isn’t a degree that would lock you out of a career in technology. Psychology. Architecture. One of my colleagues; his degree is in zoology! He doesn’t need that specifically to do his job, but that kind of background knowledge can be super-relevant. “And in the way that games development requires different skills and people from diverse backgrounds, the other way of looking at it is that every sector is going digital. So to have digital skills is important regardless of what industry you choose. That’s why I feel so strongly that an understanding of technology should be taught alongside English, maths and languages. Technology is all around us, but if we don’t understand it then we begin to lose our authority over it.” Tabori is pleased to see the
growth in community-based computer coding initiatives for young people, but
“I feel so strongly that an understanding of technology should be taught alongside English, maths and languages” Timea Tabori
believes that learning to code is not an end in itself: “Children should use critical thinking, be able to analyse, evaluate and form a judgement. We still have an educational structure that punishes curiosity and energy. Children should be able to question what they are learning; is it useful, is going to help them change the world? “Too many come out of school thinking: ‘That’s my education over’. It breaks my heart. For any women out there who would like to get into computer games as a career, I would say: ‘go for it’. We do need to bring more diverse voices to the table and people will find that every day it is exciting.” She also sees great potential for learning in computer games. “The public’s perception is that it’s just violence and ‘shoot ’em ups’. But there are some amazing collaborations happening within gaming, exploring things like otherness – being different – and mental health issues, for example. The interactive element of games is the perfect medium to build empathy. The production of these different experiences is happening, but the general public are not as aware as perhaps they could be. I feel the industry needs to do work on that.” There had been a growing awareness of the innovative use of games in learning, health and civic engagement, said Tabori, but there has been a barrier between the industry and the public, exemplified by the phenomenon in which dedicated gamers – but also misogynistic, hiding behind anonymity afforded by the internet – targeted women with rape and death threats. Normally, a core audience would be the people to evangelise to a wider public: “We are slowly overcoming the
obstacles, but for a long time we were limited by people who saw themselves as gatekeepers.” If any good had come of the episode it was that there was now a much greater awareness of the importance of diversity. Tabori said she hoped that greater freedom to express diverse views would lead to more creative development and use of games. It is a trend that has already begun, with some games eschewing the simple ‘shoot, blow things up, move up a level’ mode and embracing more nuanced journeys that subvert the default actions that players have been conditioned to take. “There should be more social awareness in what is created and we should use the opportunity in gaming to challenge the status quo,” said Tabori. She cited 80 Days, loosely based on the Jules Verne classic, which was named one of Time magazine’s games of the year. “It’s not just about getting around the world in 80 days, it acknowledges other things like staying within budget, for example. And if you decide not to go around at all and instead run off with your gay lover to the North Pole, it acknowledges that as well!”
About Timea Tabori l Game engine programmer, Rockstar North l Chair, International Game Developers Association Scotland. l STEM and Video Game Ambassador l CoderDojo mentor
1 July 2016
‘This is my I’ve died and gone to heaven job’ Celebrating National Women in Engineering Day, a VP reflects on career paths By William Peakin “I’m a sports geek,” says Eileen McLaren, vice-president of engineering at fantasy sports company FanDuel. “Technology, managing people and sport - this is my I’ve died and gone to heaven job.” McLaren is speaking in a meeting room at FanDuel’s office in Edinburgh, where it occupies a floor of a building forming part of the city’s new Quartermile development. A black and white photograph of a baseball game dominates one wall and floor to ceiling glass at the end of the room offers a vertigo inducing view of the street below. It’s mid-evening and the UEFA European Championship is on a largescreen television outside. Friends and contacts of the company have been invited for an evening of beer, food and football as part of FanDuel’s beta testing of its UK site, which launches at the end of this month ahead of the start of the English Premier League in the middle of August. The company had been discussing the idea internally for some time, but was more than busy with its US operation where it has six million
registered users. Conscious of its UK roots though, a decision was taken last summer and work on the site began in earnest last November. McLaren heads a department of around 100 engineers and a small multidisciplinary team has been working on the beta site: “It’s greenfield; we’re building something new,” said McLaren. FanDuel was founded in 2009 in Edinburgh by five British co-founders, “a Scots woman, two Welshmen, an Englishman and an Irishma n,” notes a press hand-out. It had its roots in their previous start-up, Hubdub, an online game where players could make predictions about future events in politics, technology, sport and entertainment. It was popular, but not financially
viable. During a visit to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, the team discussed what to do and alighted on the popularity of sports’ predictions on Hubdub. Their canny spin on existing fantasy sports games was to make theirs daily, rather than season-long. I had previously interviewed one of the co-founders, Nigel Eccles – today FanDuel’s chief executive – about Hubdub and when I later met fellow co-founder Lesley Eccles at their company’s previous home in Edinburgh’s TechCube, I asked her what the team’s ambition was for FanDuel. She replied simply: “We want to be a billion dollar company.” Ok, I thought; that kind of
With technology you can work in any business and any profession, says McLaren
“You don’t have to have learnt coding at school to become a programmer or developer” Eileen McLaren
clarity is refreshing. With subsequent venture capital investments, it came true – on paper at least. More recently, Fanduel has been in the news because of legal challenges in the US where states are attempting to have its activities outlawed on the grounds that it constitutes gambling, though pending legislation in New York to regulate fantasy sports may go in the company’s favour. There has also been talk of a merger with its American rival, DraftKings, but in interviews with technology site Recode Nigel Eccles has made clear his disinterest in the idea. What the future holds for FanDuel is anyone’s guess; could it be snapped up in some multi-billion dollar deal to give its investors the payback they hope
for, or could it flip that idea on its head and become a sports-based behemoth that instead buys lucrative assets and grows into being a hugely profitable company? As reporters who do not have a clue about what might happen say, time will tell. For McLaren, her focus is on delivering a site that will engage a good proportion of the 30 million households in the UK that watch football every week. The project planning and team management is something she relishes. She began her career as a programmer with Strathclyde Regional Council, nudged by a brother who was in IT and spurred on by a guidance teacher who astutely identified technology as a wise choice. A spell at Standard Life intro-
duced her to big picture thinking about how to engage customers and time at Skyscanner provided valuable insights into a high-growth start-up. I meet McLaren on the eve of National Women in Engineering Day, celebrating the achievements of women in the field. She is a good example of someone helping to change the face of corporate Scotland (the project manager for FanDuel’s new UK site is also a woman). But what can be done to increase diversity in the technology industry? “In schools, there’s still this push towards the professions. The thing about technology as a career is that you can work in any business and any profession because they all need technology to operate. And the flipside is that if you don’t chose technology as a specialism you can work in the technology sector because it is looking for diverse skills.” McLaren added: “You don’t have to have learnt coding at school to become a programmer or developer. You have to have a logical mind and an aptitude and a desire. I have worked with a lot of very good developers in my career, male and female, who didn’t have a computer science degree, who maybe had a history degree, but if you have the right kind of thought process you can turn your hand to it. It’s not rocket science.” www.nwed.org.uk
Gender quotas and more structural support That’s what we need to help women who work, says Skyscanner’s Carolyn Jameson By Kevin O’Sullivan She’s hours away from a legal conference and still hasn’t written her presentation, she got up at 7am unnecessarily for a call that’s meant to be in the evening, and she’s staying in a “concrete box” hotel in London with no access to an iron. Despite all that, she seems, on the phone at least, to radiate with enthusiasm for speaking about women in technology. And she’s very qualified to do so. As Chief Legal Officer at Skyscanner, Carolyn Jameson is perhaps one of
Scotland’s foremost women in the sector; she’s not a techie, evidently, but her position within the ranks of one the ‘unicorn’ travel search giant, based in Edinburgh’s Quartermile, means when she speaks - people listen. I first meet Carolyn at a conference earlier this year, where she is part of an all-women panel discussing why the gender disparity so affects the tech sector in particular. Research presented by Deloitte indicates that numbers of female computer science graduates are stagnating, and perhaps even falling in parts of the world; it is a worrying trend, although I’m later told that the evidence is rather narrow given that it doesn’t represent all of the other jobs that might be techrelated, like Jameson’s, for instance. “I do think there is a real problem getting women into the technology sector,” she says. “But there are many reasons for that. We definitely have
challenges [at Skyscanner] but I’m not going to say we’re perfect and there are issues around getting women into tech roles. We don’t have as many as we would like.” Carolyn has risen to the top of her profession but has still managed to find the time to have three children, aged six, eight and 14. She has a “lovely” husband, who doesn’t have “old-fashioned” views, benefits from breakfast and after-school clubs, which the kids think are “fantastic” - and she’s able to work from home on Wednesdays. “It’s important to keep women feeling engaged and able to feel they are contributing, so flexibility is key,” she says. “But I do think there should be something that’s more structured because it’s quite ad hoc, depending on the school that your child is at.” So other than the practicalities, what else can be done? Are gender
quotas a good idea? “I think I’m probably a little bit controversial on this because I know that a lot of women are opposed to quotas because they don’t want it to be a forced thing,” she adds. “And I absolutely agree with that sentiment; however I think for so many years this has been a topic for discussion and progress has been slow and we’re now seeing in some areas that is going backwards. But I think, unfortunately in reality, there are just too many boys’ clubs networks. I don’t think that’s going to change. There needs to be something that creates a real cultural shift. For me I almost wonder if there’s some kind of middle ground like a quota requirement for a limited period of time but is of sufficient length that it introduces a cultural change that would be established enough so that it doesn’t go backwards again.”
Skyscanner’s Carolyn Jameson doesn’t mind being a little bit controversial if it brings about a culture shift
1 July 2016
Digital transformation? Let’s make no bones about it, we’re just talking about change Leading recruiter Denholm Associates helps companies pick through the terminology to find the candidates that can make a difference It’s easy to get caught up with
buzzword-y, zeitgeist-y trends in any industry. And tech is no exception. With the term ‘digital transformation’ seemingly being bounced around in an endless feedback loop, Joe Knops, Head of IT/Digital at Denholm Associates, helpfully points out the turn of phrase simply means ‘business change’. Inevitably, that change is being led by technology, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that for anyone seeking a career in digital marketing the technology itself is just a means to an end. Digital transformation – what’s it all about and what does it mean for careers in digital and marketing? It’s hard to avoid all the talk about transformation – specifically digital transformation – it seems as though everybody’s doing it, or at least talking about doing it. It can be difficult to find out any detail – what does it mean? What does it mean for any company? What are the key skills that I need to hire? I talk to people from all sorts of companies, who work at a variety of different levels, and I have drawn some insight as to what it’s all about. What is it all about? Transformation is just change – it used to just be called business change. But to really understand the significance of digital transformation and how it has come about you have to understand the evolution of digital (a.k.a. webbased technologies). In a nutshell, what digital gives is an increased number of connections (channels) and allows those connections to happen faster. A number of factors have driven companies to be more customer focused: the gradual homogenisation of products driven, ironically, by the rise of the global economy, along with the means to better understand customer behaviour (analytics, big data etc.) and the number of options customers have to communicate with companies – or, as it transpires, vent their views on a public platform. As alluded to at the start, digital transformation is business change – business change that utilises the new technology, but more importantly a change that requires the business to be customer led – this is the crucial part as it demands a new way of thinking and
Knowing that digital marketing is just another channel is perhaps the biggest lesson of all for tech companies a new way of doing business. A new way? So what is this new way? Well, taking a customer-focused approach tends to turn the usual way of business thinking on its head. Previously many companies used a product-led approach – start with market research (or not), develop products that you think will be useful, test them with focus groups and then devise a way to inform your potential customers about the product. All very methodical but is it necessary and, more importantly, effective? The digital way still uses this as a basis but it works off a much tighter iterative cycle. Less research and testing is done upfront – the drive is to get the product to market a quickly as possible and then to evolve it based on real-time customer data and feedback. This way gives a greater understanding of customer behaviour: why they might like your products, what decisions they make in purchasing your products and what would make them decide to make a repeat purchase. This is where the data recording (customer and web analytics – “big data”) and direct channels to your customers come in – all facilitate a better understanding. Data is fed back into the product
“With the right vision and resources you will have a more responsive, flexible organisation that is well positioned to adapt quickly to new challenges” Joe Knops, Head of IT/Digital, Denholm Associates
and marketing teams allowing them to evolve or develop new products that will be more attractive to customers. In reality digital transformation takes many forms depending on the type of business you are. The general features of a digitally-enabled organisation is the use of technology to enable more efficient communications and decisions to be made between teams, combined with a method of working that enables efficiencies to be made. For software teams this would be a combination of version control software such as SVN or Git, combined with task trackers such as JIRA or Trello along with comms tools such as Basecamp or Slack giving visibility to any decision making. Sounds easy…what’s the big deal? It does sound easy but there are many big deals to achieving a successful transformation. The primary one is getting buy in. For most businesses there is likely to be a total change of internal structures - teams are unlikely to remain siloed and more likely work across disciplines - this can be a huge change, requiring new processes, training and a transition period that will affect production. Decisions have to be made on what
technology to invest in and that will support the new way of working. New resources may be required; either as direct employees or as third party services – we have seen a rise in data analysts. Even for the smallest of companies this is no mean feat and for the largest companies it will require significant investment – time and cost. How to do it Any change requires vision and naturally you need people who can provide that vision. It also requires planning so you need someone who understands business change. It involves technology so you need someone who understands technology – how to procure it and how to implement it. These may or may not be one person - for instance you may require a Head of Digital tasked with making the changes and also ensuring that the company evolves correctly. Denholm have worked extensively with companies to either strengthen existing teams or bring in resources who are able to facilitate change. With the right vision and resources you will have a more responsive, flexible organisation that is well positioned to adapt quickly to new challenges.
1 July 2016
futurescot 15 Fortis, Scotland’s largest, energy efficient datacentre
“It gives organisations the opportunity to accelerate their migration to the cloud, in a secure, compliant environment” Gareth Lush
How you can prepare for the future Businesses, government, health and life sciences set to benefit from new ‘cloud-enabled’ datacentre By William Peakin I’ve made an appointment. I’ve brought my photo ID. And for the tour around one of Scotland’s most secure buildings, I have a guide. Gareth Lush, Commercial Director of DataVita, meets me at the gates of Fortis, Scotland’s first purpose-built state-of-the-art datacentre, just off the M8. It’s a chance to see at first hand the twin anti-scale fence, vehicle ‘airlock’ with anti-ram barrier, motion-sensing CCTV and automatic number plate recognition device. In the reception, I am faced with a
high glass tube that looks capable of transporting me to another place, Star Trek-style. In fact, it acts as an airtight entrance to the datacentre proper, complete with a scale that weighs people on entry and exit as a security precaution. Lush then takes me on a tour of the vast facility, nearing completion when I visit but with still enough work in progress to reveal the many layers of construction and technology that make up this extraordinary building. After half an hour or so of wind-
ing through rooms and halls, across floors of such heft they appear capable of surviving an earthquake, admiring the mass of cabling snaking its way behind walls and through ceilings, taking in the ‘pods’ that will house thousands of servers containing the data and marvelling at the resin encased thick copper for the back-up power supply, I emerge, blinking, onto the roof where the advanced indirect free air cooling
system sits, shaped like an elephant. It was quite an experience. Lush then brings me back to the more prosaic setting of a temporary cabin off-site and talks through what it all means for businesses and organisations preparing for our digital future. “The biggest challenge for most is that they still have legacy systems; equipment and applications that they have used for years and need to keep using to function as a business or organisation, but they know that the future is ‘in the cloud’. “So, they need a hybrid model; a co-location datacentre where they can house their IT but also access cloud services. That’s what we offer; a cloud-enabled co-location datacentre. It offers the flexibility of gradually migrating to cloud services as the need for legacy equipment diminishes. “The other flexibility we can offer is different types of cloud; it could be DataVita’s cloud service, it could be public cloud services, private cloud services or it could be the emerging ‘community cloud’, which is built specifically for customers of the same kind, such as the public sector or health and life sciences where compliance is a key issue. “What we have done is build a datacentre which makes it easy for a customer, who perhaps initially just wants rack space for their equipment - more commonly called ‘co-location’ -, to embrace cloud services in a simple manner, whilst at the same time being confident around issues such as security, compliance, speed and cost. “Where an organisation has a num-
ber of legacy systems, it gives them the opportunity to accelerate their migration to the cloud, in a secure, compliant environment, ultimately enabling them to offer better services at a lower cost and free up more resources for front line services.” He said that there has been considerable interest in the new facility from both the public and private sector. Last month, it announced a a datacentre partnership with fellow provider Brightsolid whose chief executive Richard Higgs commented: “Their facility really blew me away.” Lush added: “Being selected by brightsolid as their data centre hosting partner in central Scotland is a real endorsement for DataVita. It demonstrates that our commitment to quality and energy efficiency exceeds the standards required for the most demanding customer requirements“ Critical to any datacentre is
connectivity to the Internet and other datacentres. DataVita has announced a partnership with Commsworld, an Edinburgh based telecoms network provider to offer customers fast, reli-
able communications from launch. Ricky Nicol, Commsworld chief executive, commented: “Commsworld are delighted to be a key Partner to DataVita supporting their exciting new Data Centre. We are providing low latency, large bandwidth, and resilient connectivity to the UK Networks and beyond enabling the clients of DataVita to be confident in accessing their applications and servers in as fast and reliable a fashion as possible. Commsworld would like to congratulate DataVita in creating this high quality exciting facility in Central Scotland.” DataVita plans to announce other partnerships with private and public sector customers over the coming months. Lush said that initial uptake is good and “our ability to expand rapidly, without disruption means we can accommodate anything from a single rack to contracts for hundreds of racks. Because of the way we have designed and built the datacentre we have the ability to expand quickly and with no disruption to existing capacity. “But even if a business or organisation is looking ahead 12 or 18 months, now is a good time to talk.”
About DataVita DataVita was established to operate Fortis, Scotland’s largest, energy efficient datacentre, delivering high quality co-location products and innovative, agile cloud services. Its colocation products are unlike anything available in Scotland today and take a
fresh approach to providing datacentre services. Its datacentre is ‘cloud enabled’ to allow customers to easily mix traditional IT infrastructure with flexible, on-demand private/public cloud services as needed and monitor, manage and report on everything from a single portal.
1 July 2016 ITWORX directors Philip Mowatt and Jill Ross. They believe their Datto platform is a ‘game-changer’
When you are held to ransom, it’s better to have backed up than have to pay up A low-cost solution is available to avoid a devastating loss of business data BY WILLIAM PEAKIN It’s the middle of the afternoon. The day is going well. Business is good. Then you notice something strange about your computer. You can’t access your documents. Applications have stopped working. And then a pop-up appears: “This computer has been locked and will not be unlocked until payment is made.”
Your business has fallen victim to ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems. When the malware is run, it locks victim’s files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them. In the year to March 2016, more than 700,000 users were affected, a fivefold increase on the previous year. “It has become so widespread that it could easily be called an epidemic,” says one malware analyst. Ransomware has typically been targeted at individuals with demands of a few hundred pounds, but increasingly businesses and organisations – small and large – are falling victim. In 2015, malware cost them more than £250m.
One option, not recommended by authorities, is to pay. Another is to have a system in place that allows valuable data to be recovered and puts a business or organisation on its feet again. “One well-established business we know lost 370GB of data to ransomware – designs, intellectual property, research and development, accounts, payroll, everything,” said Philip Mowatt, a director of ITWORX, a specialist IT and communications managed services provider. “It happened at 3pm but within a matter of hours we had everything back up and running.” The company didn’t pay a penny to the hackers; it was running Datto, a comprehensive backup, recovery and
business continuity solution. Datto’s purpose-built cloud and family of software and hardware devices provides total data protection wherever a business or organisation’s data resides. Whether it is onsite in a physical or virtual server, in the cloud, or in ‘software-as-a-service’ applications, Datto offers end-to-end recoverability and single-vendor accountability. “It’s market leading,” said Mowatt. “Multiple technologies combined on a single device that is easily deployed, runs in the background and provides business continuity. Traditionally, business continuity was a feature of big companies only. But Datto is enterprise level technology that is affordable for
even small and medium-sized businesses.” Fellow ITWORX director Jill Ross added: “That’s a key point; people expect these technologies to come with a hefty price tag. One client we worked with was surprised to discover that the Datto solution for them cost one-tenth of their existing system of backup. It is a game-changer.” EDUCATING EMPLOYEES about the risk of ransomware and using up-todate anti-virus software is fundamental in reducing exposure, but because ransomware is constantly evolving even the best security software can be breached. That is why a secondary
1 July 2016
futurescot 17 Don’t try this at home, but you can bring data back in from the cold – even when liquid nitrogen is involved
“One business lost designs, intellectual property, research and development, accounts, payroll, everything” Philip Mowatt layer of defence – backup – is critical for businesses to ensure recovery in case malware strikes. Datto takes snapshot-based, incremental backups as frequently as every five minutes to create a series of recovery points. If a business suffers a ransomware attack, this technology allows the firm to roll back data to a point-in-time before the corruption occurred. Additionally, it can allow users to run applications from image-based backups of virtual machines. Known as ‘instant recovery’ it allows operations to continue while the primary systems are being restored and with little or no downtime. ITWORX is an award-winning
Microsoft-managed partner, Cisco premier partner and Datto elite partner headquartered in Aberdeen that specialises in cloud communications and collaboration technologies. It is well established in the oil and gas sector, but also has clients in engineering, construction, local government and the professions – where long-term preservation of historical legal and financial data is essential. The company is also winning business in retail and moving into the hospitality sector. And its products are increasingly being adopted by SMEs and enterprises alike: “So much so,” said Mowatt, “that last year we won an innovation award for the implementation of Datto’s total data protection platform at North Star Shipping, a division of the global shipping and energy firm Craig Group.” ITWORX also deploys another innovative technology: Meraki, Cisco’s cloud-based mobility management system. It is capable of unifying management and control of thousands of mobile and desktop devices in a secure, browser-based dashboard. Devices can be added, monitored, updated and configured remotely. Enterprise and personal data on devices can be kept separate. “In the case of North Star Shipping,” said Ross, “the Craig Group had a clear requirement in terms of protecting against data loss and providing business continuity, which is where Datto came in. But then we were able to look at this complementary piece of technology, Meraki. In an environment like the North Sea, where bandwidth is expensive, it allows an organisation to effectively monitor, control and support mobile device use.” And in the same way that Datto has the potential to find a new home in countless business and organisations of all sizes and types, it is clear that so too does Meraki, given the rapidly growing importance of mobile device management in a wide range of settings. www.itworxuk.com
Help, my computer has frozen! When dropping a server into a vat of liquid nitrogen has a happy ending By William Peakin As IT manager for the Craig Group, the global shipping and energy services company headquartered in Aberdeen, Bruce Catto has a pretty tough job. His six-strong team supports more than 500 people, using 30 apps on 80 servers and maintains complex communication networks on land and at sea, in harsh and demanding environments. Earlier this year, at Scot-Tech’s annual Oil & Gas ICT conference, he was giving a talk about the technology that his company employs to prevent loss of crucial data, ensure business continuity and drastically improve efficiency of the its operations. To demonstrate its effectiveness he invited the audience to watch as a server was immersed in a vat of liquid nitrogen. While that would normally have resulted in the loss of everything stored on the server, this time he was able to recover the data within six seconds thanks to a backup provided by Datto’s ‘total data protection platform’, implemented within Craig
Group’s North Star Shipping by Aberdeen-based managed services provider ITWORX. The North Star Shipping contract is in addition to ITWORX supplying another Craig Group division, Craig International, with a business continuity solution, for three geographically distinct locations. “This is our first project with ITWORX and it has gone seamlessly, thanks to their expertise,” said Catto. “They implemented a Datto business continuity solution that is not only easy to use but also cost effective, significantly reducing our IT department’s administration efforts.” Historically, ships would back server data up to tape drives. But it was a system that needed technicians to oversee and use when a server failed, often involving ships returning to port with significant operational loss to the company. With Datto, backups are automatic and encrypted, providing a data store lasting 30 days and any losses can be restored without expert intervention. The whole process can be monitored from a globally-accessible portal. ITWORX also deployed Meraki, Cisco’s cloud-based mobility management system, for North Star Shipping. It means that every mobile device on the 35 North Star ships can be monitored to reduce unproduc-
Implementation with Craig Group’s North Star Shipping by ITWORX has gone ‘seamlessly’ tive use of expensive bandwidth, or restrict the use of non-business apps to certain hours. Devices can also be maintained, updated and reconfigured remotely. “The savings, efficiencies and improvements in productivity brought about by ITWORX’s introduction of Datto and Meraki into our operations have been significant,” said Catto. www.craig-group.com
“The savings, efficiencies and improvements in productivity have been significant” Bruce Catto
1 July 2016 Professor Harald Haas believes his Li-Fi technology can eventually lead to light delivering services
“If you have a connected light you have a mechanism by which you can provide many services” Professor Harald Haas
It could be the next generation of wireless connectivity. Why, you might even call it a ‘lightbulb moment’ Professor Harald Haas on how Li-Fi could become the carrier for all digital communications By Kevin O’Sullivan Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor of the telephone – believed his “greatest achievement” was not in fact the device that made him a household name and became the standard medium of voice communication in the 20th century. Instead, he told a reporter shortly before his death that his ‘photophone’ – a device that allowed speech to be transmitted through beams of light – was of far greater scientific importance. Sadly, for Graham Bell, he would never live to see the potential of this particular invention: the ability to transmit speech through light was not fully realised until a century later when fibre optic communication became possible in the 1970s, heralding the dawn of the information age. The story is keenly recounted by Professor Harald Haas who, appropriately enough, I meet in his University of Edinburgh offices, in the building named after his hero and man he describes as an “amazing genius”. Professor Haas very much sees himself as carrying the baton passed on by his illustrious predecessor in the field of modern communications technology: in this era of the internet the professor’s sole quest over the last decade has
been to take Graham Bell’s invention a step further, using light to transmit data wirelessly. To this extent he has been successful, as Graham Bell was with his photophone: Haas has proved that his ‘Li-Fi’ technology can work, and has demonstrated so in Ted Talks that have generated almost a million views on YouTube. Not only that, Haas has also proved that Li-Fi, as an alternative to the ubiquitous Wi-Fi, can transmit data at speeds of up to 100 times faster on a visible light spectrum which has 10,000 times more space than ‘crowded’ radio waves. If realised commercially the technology has the potential to be a game changer, particularly in Scotland which suffers like many other countries from poor broadband speeds. But to become a challenger to the market-dominating telecommunications industry, Li-Fi must displace the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Vodafone: it’s a huge task, yet one that Haas doesn’t shrink from. His ‘solution’ is to convince the likes of Apple and Samsung to adopt Li-Fi (both have shown an interest, incidentally) to adopt the technology in their devices and then to work in partnership with lighting manufacturers who will need to carry a microchip in each LED light (it doesn’t work for old-fashioned tungsten element bulbs) that will become the transmitter of data to handsets. “It becomes light-as-a-service,” says Haas enthusiastically. “If you have a connected light you have a mechanism by which you can provide many services. You can send information about
the distribution of people, you can connect the light to all your devices to enable the internet of things, the lights can be used for Industry 4.0 applications in an industrial setting; the light can be used in secure wireless communications devices because light doesn’t go through walls, so there are many, many different applications that can be developed around that connectivity. So the lighting industry has a chance to develop new business models which eat market share from the wireless industry, because if it becomes not only a light but a router then you don’t need a Wi-Fi router.” The technology itself has not been very explained, I tell Professor Haas, in that the numerous press releases I have read concentrate on how light beams data from the source (an LED bulb) to the device (a phone, laptop, tablet etc), but not how the data arrives at the bulb itself. “It’s through the overhead power cables,” Haas says. “That’s why we don’t need any new infrastructure; we already have it. We can piggyback on the existing power cables network. So the data is transmitted through the wires that serve your home with electricity.” But does that mean we will have to live in a permanent state of luminescence if we are to stream the latest series of House of Cards i.e. what do you do when the lights are off? “You can reduce the intensity so it appears off but it will still emit enough photons for the detector,” adds Haas, with an air of scientific irreproachability. Haas’s spin-off company, PureLifi,
has already developed three commercially available dongles, which can be plugged into USB ports to receive a Li-Fi signal, which Haas calls an “early stage engagement product”; he is also currently working with a company in France to integrate the rather cumbersome-looking ‘smokedetector-like’ receiver which sits next to the light on the ceiling, so that a microchip sits within the luminaire encasing itself. The technology is also proving to be of interest to planners in Dubai: by the end of this year the ultramodern Emirates city will boast Li-Fi capabilities in its streetlights, which will beam the internet to passers-by. But for Haas the ultimate goal is on bringing our white goods homeware to life, with Li-Fi powering the ‘internet of things’, with traditional lighting companies such as Philips as potentially being the enablers. “In five years from now they will not be a light bulb manufacturer,” Haas adds. “They will be a lighting-slashcommunications company. Imagine you have the light itself forming the channel for controlling it (such as the Apple/Philips Hue). The next step would be connecting the light to your oven, to your fridge, your microwave etc. So now you can see the energy consumption of your devices and even order products when they run out.” Although Haas’s company has
now been around for five years and there is no sign as yet of mass market adoption, he predicts that it will be in a phone (maybe Apple, Samsung, or “someone else”) within two years and it will be “ubiquitous” within five.
“If you look at the innovation cycle, the landline telephone, it took a hundred years for 100 per cent coverage,” Haas adds. “If you look at Wi-Fi, because everyone has Wi-Fi now, it took 15 years because I remember the first Wi-Fi dongle, and that was around 2000. The innovation cycles are dramatically decreasing.” And for that eventuality, he
believes Edinburgh – and Scotland – is well-placed to take advantage of this nascent and homegrown technology. Like the powerhouse industries of yore, which have died off or are a shadow of what they once were, the new industry is digital, and we should be at the forefront of the new gold rush, which could see Scotland becoming a Li-Fi hub. “People moan about the old industries like coal mining and steel now but this is a new industry,” Haas says. “Imagine that this lamp is a rail track and all applications are carriers on the rail track – all the applications run on that machine (a phone). How many companies are involved in those applications? Now imagine you have a similar rail track in your ceiling – how many applications can you programme around smart homes, smart environments, the Internet of Things? It’s a big industry around sensored app developers and it can be here.” “Whoever is able to understand and recognise that, and make the best innovations around data will succeed, in my view, in the next 10 years going forward. That’s why investing in digital data and all its forms in my view must be the strategic goal of any country.”
1 July 2016
Developing efficiency and response Industry analysts and business opinion leaders alike agree that cloud computing offers the scalability and business agility necessary to succeed in this modern global economy. Moreover the potential to cut capital expenditure, as well as tie IT costs more closely to trade volumes, makes for a compelling business case. They also see the value in any time any device access that cloud based business applications offer and yet still some businesses hesitate. The fear is often that of replicating past mistakes; of creating siloed IT systems in the cloud, half-jokingly referred to in the industry as “your mess for less”. And it is true, if implementations do not start from the perspective of real business needs, the end result can be a raft of poorly integrated cloud based point solutions. Eureka Solutions, a leading provider of Cloud Software understands the many advantages Cloud Technology can offer to businesses and the challenges businesses have faced in selecting and deploying the right cloud applications to avoid these issues. Appreciating the importance of being able to access real time information wherever you are, and the need to eliminate silos, the company works closely with clients to deliver projects that meet their individual requirements using NetSuite, a cloud platform for building end-to-end business systems. “We supply software, but it’s much more than that,” said Aileen Primrose, the Sales and Marketing Director. “It’s about deploying a whole project, solving business issues and implementing a software solution which enables our customers to grow. Our proven successful process always begins with a ‘discovery phase’; understanding the needs of a company, the pain points and how a business engages with its customers. The information gathered during the discovery phase with a company is vital for us in fully understanding their business and ensures we recommend the right solution for them. “Once we have recommended the correct solution, we will demonstrate how the system solves their issues as well as showing the real value that can be gained by implementing the solution. During the implementation phase we work closely with them through deployment; migrating data, configuring and if required, customising the solution for them. Once implemented, we then provide training and on-going support for the customers. “The move away from on-premise systems to the cloud makes it much easier for personnel to access vital business information anytime, anywhere, and can make informed decisions based on what they are seeing in real-time. It’s simple to view KPI reports and really increases efficiency allowing businesses to respond to customers quicker and more effectively than ever. Furthermore, we have found that users are enthusiastic to work with this technology as they have come to expect instant, mobile access to everything in their personal life.” Current chairman, Alistair Livingstone, founded Eureka Solutions in 1996, focussing the company on two
core principles; technical excellence and customer service. It has established itself as a leader in mid-market enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI). Aileen continued: “As a business, we recognised that cloud solutions were the future of business software solutions and are essential for increasing efficiency and productivity. We chose to partner with NetSuite, the world’s number 1 ERP cloud solution because this offers us the potential to work with start-up companies as well as large global enterprises.” “NetSuite’s scale and ability to execute are unsurpassed and can support everything from emerging companies, public companies through to some of the largest global enterprises. Almost every new IPO over the last several years is running on NetSuite which is a testament to innovation! Eureka Solutions chose to work with NetSuite because it is Proven, Reliable and Scalable, enabling us to develop long term customer relationships.” To complement the work done with NetSuite, Eureka Solutions also has a team of skilled developers working on its own products, for example, software that seamlessly integrates different cloud systems, which will help to expand Eureka Solutions into new international markets. “We engage with businesses on what their challenges are, what’s holding them back, and take them on a journey where they can really see the efficiencies and competitive advantages of our business systems, operating in the cloud,” said Aileen.
Eureka Solutions supported company growth for: VG Energy
A major benefit for VG Energy in implementing NetSuite is the ability of office-based and field staff to access information from their system, from one integrated database in real time. Prior to implementing NetSuite, the company was very much reliant on spreadsheets and manual processes and following a period of hyper growth for the company, it was no longer an adequate solution. The chosen product implemented was NetSuite SRP. VG Energy provide a full turnkey solution for any renewable project whether wind, solar or biomass and has sold more than 300 wind turbines and are established as the UK market leader for selling and installing wind turbines ranging from 6kW to 2.0MW in size.
SAMS Research Services (SRSL)
With NetSuite, SRSL can manage every aspect of their business from tracking enquiries, leads, prospects and customers as well as project activity within one system. In addition, it can take control of its own financial management and is not reliant on the parent organisation for this aspect of
operations. The solution chosen was NetSuite Mid Market Services Platform which includes CRM, Advanced Financials and Project Management. SRSL is the commercial subsidiary of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and was an existing CRM customer of Eureka Solutions. SAMS, the parent company is a charitable and academic organisation that works with many other academic institutes throughout the UK and beyond but is mainly affiliated with University of Highlands & Islands (UHI). Prior to implementing NetSuite with Eureka Solutions, SRSL had managed their own sales processes however SAMS managed all of the accounts, orders and projects for SRSL.
Smarter Grid Solutions
With offices in Glasgow, London and New York, an integrated solution was essential for Smarter Grid Solutions. This fully integrated cloud solution ensures the database is accessible from any of the company’s three offices in Glasgow, London and New York. Prior to project implementation with Eureka Solutions, SGS was handling its financial management in multiple systems including spreadsheets and Sage 50 and
was using MS Project for project management. The solution adopted by SGS was NetSuite including OpenAir, One World, and Contract Renewables module for Project and Financial Management. Another major advantage for SGS is the ability to automate as much of its billing process as possible which was a key factor in the choice. Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) provides intelligent solutions and services to the energy industry which allow large organisations to harness the power of renewable energy without having to replace their existing grid. Projects include hardware, software licenses, professional services and ongoing support.
By integrating existing systems with NetSuite OpenAir, Agenor are able save time and duplication of entry between systems. Agenor provide change management consultancy around system implementations and migrations for large organisations. The business has both full time employees and work with sub contracted consultants to fulfill projects. Projects are generally large scale and long term.
1 July 2016
The data doctor will see you now Dr Michael Li is heading to Scotland on a mission: to turn people working in data-related fields into ‘bona fide data scientists’ By Kevin O’Sullivan Dr Michael Li has worked has worked as a plasma researcher at NASA, as a quant (quantitative analyst) at major financial institutions, and most recently as a data scientist at Foursquare. And the good news is that he’s coming to Scotland - to help train up the next generation of data scientists whose work could end up adding lots of zeroes to the nation’s tech finances. “It’s wonderful to come back and be part of the digital transformation of Scotland,” says Dr Li, the Chief Executive and founder of the Data Incubator in New York. “This is a programme near and dear to my heart. I spent two years of my postgraduate studies on a Marshall Scholarship at Cambridge University, and I’ve always loved the United Kingdom and really enjoyed my time there.” Dr Li is set to deliver a three-week data science course at The Data Lab in Edinburgh in September. It will be aimed at people already in data-related employment with the intention of upskilling them to become ‘bona fide data scientists’. “It’s really based on three fundamental pillars,” says Li. “One is mathematics, statistics and analytics, and how you understand data and its significance. The second thing is software engineering, making sure you can help the computer to do those steps, and the last part is about communication - taking complicated data results to a general audience who are maybe not as technically savvy.” For the uninitiated, data science
is a rapidly-growing field of knowledge with applications across new, established and legacy businesses - it can
turn vast swaths of data into intelligence organisations across the public and private sectors can intelligently and turn into useful insights. In the US, Li has seen his alumni go on to work for the likes of LinkedIn, Yelp, the New York Times, and also big banks. “I think we work with a number of companies who are very disruptive in this space,” he says. “A number of our folks have gone on to Capital One which is a large bank in the United States. You might not think of it being a very disruptive company but they are doing a lot of interesting work around data science to make the user experience a lot better. They’re doing a lot of stuff at the back end where they pool together all the customer information, so as soon as you dial in they know who you are, they’re able to recognise you from a phone number and they can pull all that information up right onto a screen so that person has all the context to continue a conversation with you.” The applications for data science are endless. In public health in the US, the move to analytics is helping predict when ‘recidivist patients’ are likely to fall ill again, and stage the appropriate intervention to prevent that, making healthcare safer and more cost effective. With emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, data science can help predict when a widget on a machine in a factory might be likely to suffer a breakdown, avoiding unnecessary downtime. “Data science is about much more than automating and speeding things up,” says Li. “In automotive there is a huge desire now to put monitors on people’s cars so that we can look at their driving habits. We can see whether they are good drivers, whether they brake suddenly, and feed that data back to improve our underwriting of automobile deal insurance. It’s an example of an old industry transforming by using data.” “But in healthcare it’s potentially
Dr Michael Li: Set to deliver a three-week data science course at The Data Lab in Edinburgh in September
transformative. In the US we are shifting towards a new model of care following the ObamaCare reforms, and as a consequence there’s a change in the way healthcare providers do pricing. They realise it’s not going to be business as usual but will have to deliver efficient personalised medicine and how they can leverage data analytics to do that. Under the new model they are going to be paid per patient - and if the patient costs you a lot of money, tough, the hospital is on the hook for that.” As a result data analytics are being used to predict when patients will fall ill, and by making that prediction it should mean a patient is discharged they might be followed-up with inhome nursing or kept in hospital a few more days. “The notion of targeted, smart medicine where you use analytics to drive a reduction of cost is a major thing now,” adds Li. One of the reasons Li set up the Data Incubator was because as a hiring manager at FourSquare he found it difficult to source the right people with the right skills to do the job. There are plenty of graduates with the statistical and mathematical
Data science is not just about answering the questions, it’s about asking them. It’s about giving people the tools to ask a whole set of questions that they weren’t able to ask before Michael Li
knowledge but not enough who are able to apply it in a practical sense. “I had a PhD from Princeton and I was trying to figure out how to enter this field called data science and I sort of encountered a number of challenges on the technical skills side,” he says. “I had to figure out to hire people and I figured out there was a set of skills that people were very often lacking. So this programme was set up to help bridge those two worlds, so that people who had a strong technical background got the specific skills that employers are looking for or are needing right now.” Those include machine learning where graduates may have a background in statistics and regression analysis but not the computational skills to take it to the next level. That is the aim of the course at The Data Lab in September, says Li, to furnish those candidates with what they lack. “At the end I hope they will be able to take that knowledge and that it opens a new set of doors for them. For me, data science is not just about answering the questions, it’s about asking them. It’s about giving people the tools to ask a whole set of questions that they weren’t able to ask before.”
1 July 2016
Children took part in a design jam working with a professional designer to create prototypes
Please miss, can we design some more? A national schools challenge could be launched by V&A Dundee when it opens in 2018 By William Peakin A school desk that generates electricity from the restless energy of children, an anti-bullying robot, a worry box app and a social enterprise cyber café were among 10 ideas selected to go forward to a design jam from 250 ideas submitted by more than 1,000 pupils in the Schools Design Challenge run by V&A Dundee. It was organised as a pilot for S1 pupils in Dundee and Angus and it is hoped that it will become a national event when the museum opens in 2018. “The V&A is for all of Scotland,” said Sarah Saunders, head of learning and engagement at V&A Dundee. “The response to the pilot was really quite incredible. It was so hard to choose the 10 ideas where pupils were then teamed with a professional designer. “The aim was to use design thinking
– so not necessarily the traditional notion of designing a product or service, but a process that could be applied across all subjects and aspects of school life. We worked with Education Scotland and we did professional development with the teachers so they could use that method, which was great. “We chose S1 as the children are just starting a new school, thinking about their environment, and it was clear the children had put a lot of thought and work into their ideas. What emerged from all the ideas were definite trends in terms of what challenges were addressed by children, which we hadn’t anticipated, so it also became like a piece of research.” The design jam was an all-day event in which each team worked with a professional designer using design process and a range of materials to develop their idea and create a prototype. During the day, pupils also had the chance to go in to a design diary room and chat about their idea, how they came up with it, what it was like working with a designer and how they were finding the day. At the end each team presented to the whole group, discussing the
process, solutions and designs they created. “Some schools are taking their ideas forward into practice, but one of the things we want to achieve next is finding a way of support the transition of these great ideas from just being ideas, into real solutions for the challenges that were identified by the children. We have some great companies in the city, particularly in digital, and are there things there that could be taken forward. “The work we did with teachers, the face-to-face team of children with designers and the films we made of the children talking about their design challenges – where they are
“I’ve never seen children of that age so confident in presenting” Sandy Hope
just so articulate in talking about the approaches they took – are really a great resource which we hope could be replicated regionally so that it can become a national challenge.” The cyber café was created by Grove Academy, the worry box app by Morgan Academy, the anti-bullying robot by St Paul’s RC Academy in Dundee and the energy desk by Webster’s High School in Angus. “As an art and design teacher, I spend a lot of time building up skills like drawing and painting,” said Sandy Hope, the V&A’s schools development officer. “And when I came to the V&A two years ago it made me think do we use creative methodologies, like design thinking, enough with children. “Because the way we approached this was for children to have the kind of discussion that the average design practice sits down to have every day. And we found that the children developed absolutely amazing things. Children who had never imagined themselves to be creative were coming out with very creative ideas, because they weren’t bound in by skills and they were being asked relevant questions by designers to help their thinking.
“For example with the worry app, they went through the process of storyboarding the steps that a pupil might take in communicating concerns and how, potentially, a guidance teacher might be able to pick up on problems occurring at a much earlier stage. “The children came up with fantastic stuff, showing the various pieces of logic on presentation boards of how you could interact with the app. And the design jam was an amazing event, with the children, the designers, a camera crew, a room where children could share their reflections on the process Big Brother-style, and then at the end they presented. “I’ve never seen children of that age so confident in presenting because by having a facilitator with them through the day they got really caught up and were not afraid to share what they had achieved.” While the V&A prepares to take the challenge national, Hope has finished his secondment to the museum and will be taking what he has learned back to classes at Craigie High School in Dundee. www.vandadundee.org/whatson/ schools-design-challenge
1 July 2016
Why tech is not always the prime factor The biggest disruptions of late have come from business models not technologies BY JONATHAN HARRIS “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” – a paraphrase of an observation by nineteenth-century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson – is often taken as a truism. So it comes as a surprise to many inventors, researchers, and other would-be entrepreneurs, that having a brilliant idea or new discovery is in itself by no means a guarantee of commercial success. Early stage investors – business angels, and some specialist venture capital firms – are all too familiar with the boast from company founders pitching for funds that “we have no competition”. The belief is that if a product is sufficiently new and different, it will make an immediate impression on the market, and buyers will hurry down the path to your door. This is mistaken – for a start, many investors will feel that if a product has no competition, that could be because there is no market for it. A good starting point for entrepreneurs looking to build a successful company is to have a
No need to shout ‘Taxi!’ Uber launched in Edinburgh last November
very clear picture of their competitive positioning. ONCE THE PROTOTYPE has been thoroughly tested, production has commenced, marketing campaigns started and a sales operation put in place, what impression will the product make in contrast to its competitors? What benefits does it provide that others can’t, and what value for money does it offer? How entrenched are the competitors, and how hard will it be for a newcomer to win market share from them? In most industries there is an infrastructure in place – either physical in terms of equipment or machinery, or virtual, as for example existing supply chains - and clients are reluctant to incur both the cost and the uncertainty of making changes unless there are very compelling reasons. As a result, investors often claim that they like to back “disruptive technologies”. This concept is not always clearly spelt out. In some cases a technological disruption is obvious – think slide rules and pocket calculators, or more recently hard disk drives and the cloud – but the biggest disruptions of late have come from business models. AirBnB, Uber, even Scotland’s own Skyscanner, are providing services which are very familiar, but doing so in a way that changes how people can access and use them. They
are all developing technology without which they could not maintain their level of service, but the technology is not the prime disruptive factor in their success. FOR INVESTORS, everything
ultimately comes down to people. They like to back companies in which the founders have a strong sense of purpose (or “passion”), often because they have direct personal knowledge of an industry and the opportunities it offers for making improvements. They also like to see a team in place that can cover all the bases for implementing the business proposition, rather than depend upon a single individual. The team will at a minimum need to cover sales (with at least one team member with intimate knowledge of the target market sector), operations, and finance.
“For investors, everything ultimately comes down to people; they back companies in which the founders have a strong sense of purpose” Jonathan Harris
More start-ups have the edge on funding BY WILLIAM PEAKIN A social shopping platform, a surgical skills simulator and a robot designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists, were among winners of Scottish EDGE funding last month. Blusho is a beauty site driven by user-generated content; people can sign-up, share their favourite looks and shop for products. “Winning Scottish EDGE means we’ll be able fast track our UK growth and take the platform globally more quickly,” said Glasgowbased founder Carla Mackay. Edinburgh-based eoSurgical develops surgical simulator hardware, performance assessment software and a cloud-based portfolio of support, enabling surgeons to improve their skills
in a simulated environment. “This is a huge boost to our mission of making surgery safer globally by providing accessible skills-training tools,” said cofounder and managing director Roland Partridge. And Alexander Enoch, who has a Phd in walking robotics, created Marty to teach young people about engineering and coding (see interview, page 4). The three won a combined £190,000 while in total, £1.27m was awarded in the latest round of funding. Gordon Merrylees, Scottish EDGE board member and head of entrepreneurship at Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, said: “The Scottish EDGE has had a huge impact on Scotland’s economy, with our alumni generating an additional £31.80m
in turnover, securing £28.36m in additional investment and creating 641 jobs since receiving their Scottish EDGE funding and support. We’re looking forward to continued success as the winners join our group of highachieving alumni.” Scottish EDGE Chief Executive Officer Evelyn McDonald added: “A Scottish EDGE final is always a day to remember. We received a total of 239 applications from around the country for round eight, representing businesses in every sector. For those who didn’t win this time round it is not a ‘no’, it’s a ‘not yet’. We look forward to opening round nine in August and encourage new and old applicants to apply.” www.scotedge.com
Blusho, finding the perfect look, socially
A recent investment by angel group Equity Gap in Spoonfed, a Livingston-based company that provides management software for the catering sector, illustrated many of the points above. Jock Millican, of Equity Gap commented: “It was clear the founders of Spoonfed had spotted a clear gap in the market and have developed a product that is already proving popular worldwide. The founders’ experience in the industry has led to a product that directly resolves a need, and their relentless work to iron out any kinks has produced a business that is financially in good shape within a very short period of time.” Jonathan Harris is editor of Young Company Finance Scotland www.ycfscotland.co.uk
INVESTMENT & LEGAL
1 July 2016
Meet the young tech entrepreneurs planning to shake up the way you buy tickets for gigs, theatre and shows TickX aims to become a global price aggregator service for events
“TickX holds a unique positioning in the market whereby we sit above all the ticket sellers to become the first point of call for eventgoers”
BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN After impressing investors at a technology talent showcase a ticket finder website which is operated from an office in Dunoon is on course to raise £1m in seed capital by the end of July. TickX, a company founded by family friends Steve Pearce, 23, and Sam Coley, 22, is in negotiations with two venture capitalists after pitching at the EIE investor event in Edinburgh in May. If successful, the platform has the potential to shake up the way tickets are bought for a multitude of events, including live music, theatre, comedy and festivals. “We want to be the biggest aggregator – not seller – of tickets, bringing people a complete picture of events prices and help them find the best deals,” said Pearce, an economics graduate from Manchester University. In that sense, and as a lofty as it might sound, TickX is aiming to become a kind of equivalent to Skyscanner, which scours the internet to find the best flight deals. “Our ultimate ambition is to be the global platform for searching events. So in that sense, yes, it would be a bit like Skyscanner. We believe we have a business with global potential and clear revenue streams.” Underpinning the website is proprietorial technology based on an algorithm developed by Coley, who has run a software business since the age of 16. However Pearce, who worked
Steve Pearce, left, and Sam Coley have already secured investment from the Ministry of Sound and are looking to raise £1m by the end of July for a blue chip tech company as a sales account manager before developing TickX, had the initial idea during his student days. “I used to go to quite a lot of gigs at Manchester Academy but I always found it very difficult to find tickets. There were many, many different websites and no way to compare prices across them. I approached Sam with the initial idea; he had the technical skills and we found we made a good team working together.” Coley had already had much success in business after moving to Dunoon, in Argyll and Bute, from Yorkshire with his parents; he had run a software company and managed to amass
clients including the NHS and even delivered a solution for the royal estate at Balmoral. “Sam is really good at taking complex problems and putting them into a simple and easy-to-use solution,” adds Pearce. THE PAIR ARE now considering relocating (Pearce runs the marketing arm of the firm in Manchester) to CodeBase in Edinburgh to further develop the business, which has already secured a £175,000 investment (with the Ministry of Sound the lead investor) and around 22,000 users, predominantly in the student community. Pearce says the real value lies in how
the technology works: the algorithm crunches vast amounts of data and ranks events according to 25 different variables. But the service does not sell tickets directly; instead it aggregates price information from the 20-plus leading ticket sellers, taking a small commission from each sale and helping users find deals on 50,000 music, theatre, festivals and sporting events. “TickX holds a unique position in the market whereby we sit above all the ticket sellers to become the first point of call for event-goers to see what’s on, who’s selling tickets and who is the cheapest,” says Pearce. One of their current mentors is for-
mer European vice president of Ticketmaster, Tim Chambers, who has helped with introductions to ticket partners, and they are also working with events registration site Eventbrite. “Eventbrite are included within our comparisons and we work with them to act as an additional marketing channel to support them in reaching a new audience and driving incremental business,” adds Pearce. “So our relationships predominately lie with our ticket partners themselves rather than individual promoters. Promoters are however very supportive of what we’re doing as we’re driving additional awareness for their events and helping them sell more tickets.”
Technology is key to effective contract management BY GRANT CAMPBELL There is an old adage in business that I often hear and it goes along the following lines: “A good contract is one that you can put in a drawer and never need to look at again.” It’s a myth but – as with so many such things – it’s one that persists. A good relationship, and a fair amount of luck, should allow you to put a contract in a drawer and forget about it. My experience, however, is that this is a high-risk strategy and, sooner or later, something will happen that will cause the contract to be taken out of the drawer, dusted off and then scrutinised. Often, however, by then it’s too late, with the result that serious problems may arise and a dispute may be unavoidable. As with any other relationship, the
best contractual ones tend to be those where the parties to it understand the rules by which they are operating, work hard to maintain the relationship and preserve an ongoing dialogue. Even for those who do not subscribe to the ‘contract in a drawer’ theory, the challenges of managing contracts properly are significant. For a start, the sheer number of contracts that organisations enter into appears to increase year-on-year, which makes keeping track of them all a real challenge. In addition, organisations often find
that there is no overall organisational view of contractual commitments – contract management is siloed with individuals who have their own ad hoc arrangements. This leaves a business with no effective organisational system of oversight of its contracts, meaning it may be vulnerable to risk if the individual leaves or just turns out not to have been any good at their job. The problems for central management are further compounded if the organisation operates on a multi-site or multijurisdictional basis.
We conducted a survey of organisations recently which revealed that most think that they manage their contracts well, or at least reasonably well. However, when we drilled below that initial response, the basis for that confidence was only skin deep. Many of the respondents didn’t know how often they reviewed their contracts and our general impression was that their apparent confidence was largely based on the fact that nothing had gone wrong recently. Good contract management requires appropriate investment – not
“Increasingly, technology has an important part to play in managing contracts effectively, not least in allowing organisations to store their contract records in a secure, central location”
just in terms of people, but also in terms of systems to support them. Increasingly, technology has an important part to play in managing contracts effectively, not least in allowing organisations to store their contract records in a secure, central location, keep track of changes to documents and alert decision-makers when those contracts are about to expire in order to allow them to renegotiate agreements or explore opportunities with other commercial partners. The benefits lie not only in better risk management but also in better decision-making, greater efficiency and, ultimately, better contract value. Grant Campbell is Head of IP, Technology & Outsourcing at Brodies LLP. For more information, contact Grant on 0131 656 0115 or at grant.campbell@ brodies.com.
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