By: Rachel Brown, Junior Marketing Executive
Katie Rose Hester, Content and Communications Specialist
The tech industry is a pretty unstoppable force. The power of the industry to pivot quickly according to social disruptions is something we’ve long understood since setting up xDesign over 10 years ago, but it’s unwavering agility has escalated over the last couple of years, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The pandemic has pushed companies to accelerate their digitisation plans years in advance: where digital transformations haven't yet been achieved, many organisations have implemented temporary solutions in order to meet the demands of a world that's becoming increasingly reliant on digital options. But the reality is that these solutions are anything but 'temporary:' these changes are here for the long haul - here's why.
Organisations have seen increased value in digital transformation. The movement isn’t just a quick fix of fast-tracking technological adoption, but it actually tests businesses’ ability to adapt and evolve to new employee and customer experiences. It’s what encouraged us to adopt a remote working model to accommodate the future of work, and companies have elevated their online offering to keep up with the new customer journey; one where they have more power over where and when they engage. People can now seamlessly browse supermarket goods from the comfort of their home, pay with one click, and receive a delivery within hours, entirely on their own terms. They can even instantly access up-to-date health information and advice, all from their mobile phones.
At xDesign, we’ve had the privilege of facilitating digital transformations across the country, which is why we’ve never been more excited to be a key part of the Scottish tech space. Assumptions and attitudes have completely changed over the last couple of years, and it shows in the statistics across the industry.
Scotland’s tech sector is growing faster than the rest of the UK, with demand for tech professionals in the country increasing by 25% in just six months. Moreover, the number of international fintech SMEs in Scotland has grown by 40% in the last year, highlighting the continuous strength of the sector. Working with brands like PayPal and MoneySupermarket to create digital solutions has shown our teams first-hand the increased potential for both domestic and international fintechs to grow and thrive in this space. The demand for expertise has skyrocketed the digital economy, and Scotland has been a powerful facilitator.
Inspired by innovation, powered by people
Scotland is a front runner for groundbreaking tech innovation across multiple industries; it’s even become the leading country for the accelerated commercial development of 5G, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. But it’s the people on the ground who make it such a success. Scotland has a number of stellar universities and training programmes hosting accredited courses for computer science and engineering, giving both local and international residents a platform to explore the industry and kick-start their careers.
Everywhere you turn, there’s passion and talent to work with, whether it be from recent graduates, experienced CEOs, informed angel investors, or tech incubators. This diverse talent pool and resources are what attracts global companies to set up camp here, as well as develop homegrown enterprises, all with the ambition to collaborate and grow. As the old saying goes; the grass is greener where you water it, and Scotland certainly has enough water to go around.
The snowball effect
The rapid, near-constant transfer of knowledge in the tech space is another reason for its continued predominance. The birth and escalation of many tech companies in Scotland, particularly Edinburgh, has come largely from experienced players offering support and guidance, which can be passed on to other tech companies, or businesses looking to advance their digital landscape. At xDesign, it’s no different; our team is constantly sharing new learnings and discoveries with one another, the exact reason we host our engineering workshops. This knowledge is then met with challenge; one of our guiding principles. Our team challenges one another to go beyond the obvious, and question what’s possible; to take that knowledge and make it something better.
This enhanced knowledge is then passed on to others, creating a perpetual cycle of refining and developing existing talent. The ecosystem moves fast, but those a part of it are excited to run with it, and aren’t afraid to challenge it.
And it’s exactly why we’re excited to have opened our office in Leeds earlier this year. We see multiple similarities within the tech ecosystems between Scotland and the North of England, from the collaborative network, to the opportunities for development. The region has even recently been ranked third in a list of UK cities with the most high-growth businesses, meaning there has been no better time to expand to be on the cutting edge of development in Northern England.
With a passion for supporting local business and talent, we’re working to accelerate growth in the region by creating 100 jobs by 2023. With the strong local talent and resources, we look forward to continuing to provide high quality, UK-based teams to new and existing clients to further support digital innovation in the area.
Scotland has boasted a number of facilitators for tech success, including talent, infrastructure, and investment. It’s partly why we’ve grown our team to 150 people, expanded throughout the UK to other thriving tech spaces, and worked with world-leading organisations. The last few years have without a doubt shaped the future for a lot of businesses, but it’s a future we’re excited to be a key player of.