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Aberdeen looks for strategic digital partner


City council looks for two-year support deal to speed up its Being Digital programme

Aberdeen City Council has begun to look for a digital partner to support its digital transformation, following the recent adoption of a blueprint for implementing its high level strategy.

The council has indicated that it initially wants to work on a two-year contract within a budget of £3-4 million.

It said it needs a partner, working with the existing transformation team, to accelerate its Being Digital programme with the necessary business change skills and scope for innovation and introducing new services.

The blueprint outlines an approach to the programme with four key components: digital customer and community; digital workforce; digital supply chain and assets; and insights and analytics.

Elements of the plan include the creation of a customer interface that includes chatbots, a single online financial assessment process, and gamification tools to support self-service.

It also involves using digital solutions to support the council in acting as a broker for services, rather than directly providing them, in areas such as homecare.

Another strand reflects Aberdeen’s development as a smart city, with the use of digital assets such as street lighting controls and sensors for smart parking.

Access to knowledge

“A digital partnership will provide us with access to expert knowledge or skills, offer a pathway to new customer markets, or lend itself to a more agile approach,” the document says. “Essentially, it allows us to focus on our core expertise while supplementing it with digital expertise.”

In a recent interview with UKAuthority, Aberdeen’s head of IT and transformation Simon Haston said it had a £25 million pot for investment in digital focused on four key areas: connectivity, below and above the ground; how data can be used to stimulate the local economy and in social applications; innovation aimed at supporting the digital economy; and boosting skills in north-east Scotland.

It is already making efforts to beef up its digital infrastructure with a deal with supplier City Fibre for a gigabit fibre network, in which it will act as the anchor tenant. It is also looking closely at 5G.

 Image by Bob Embleton, CC BY-SA 2.0

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