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Steering through change: A roadmap for digital transformation in the UK's transport sector

Digital transformation in the UK's transport sector brings many challenges but collaboration with an experienced partner can support organisations with expert perspectives. Ahead of Highways UK 2023 (Wednesday 18 to Thursday 19 October), Softcat's Head of Transport and Central Government, Chris Reynolds gives insight into how organisations can tackle these head on.

Security Technology adoption

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Chris Reynolds 2

Chris Reynolds

Public Sector Central Government Senior Team Leader

A transformative digital wave

The digital wave sweeping through the UK's transport sector is nothing short of transformative. With buzzwords like AI, machine learning, and operation technology (OT, e.g. industrial control systems, machinery, and other devices), fusion becoming commonplace, there is no shortage of avenues for innovation. But to unleash this potential, the industry has to navigate a complex landscape of technology adoption, cyber threats, and public perception.

Understanding the present to shape the future

A key starting point for any digital transformation journey is a comprehensive understanding of the current digital landscape. It involves assessments that dive deep into existing digital estates, including cyber threat landscapes, cloud adoption levels, and storage infrastructures. The ultimate goal is to be ‘"user/citizen-centric’," making road and rail networks more efficient and accessible for the end-users.

Addressing the complexity of technology sourcing

The ever-expanding abundance of technology options makes the act of sourcing a complex undertaking. Organisations often find themselves overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. The key is to have a reliable partner that can cut through the noise, helping with horizon scanning, business requirement alignments, and facilitating competitive tenders. Access to extensive public sector sourcing frameworks can be a significant advantage here, simplifying the sourcing process and making technology deployment easier.

Incubating innovation and SMB's

While the transport sector is full of innovative ideas, often these don't see the light of day because of procurement barriers. We believe it's crucial to provide pathways for these emerging small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to participate in public sector opportunities. By supporting SMBs through the complex public sector procurement process, the industry can keep innovation within the UK and accelerate transformation.

Proritising cyber resillience

In an age where data drives decisions, cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought. Especially as the sector starts adopting more AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, securing these digital landscapes becomes imperative. Frameworks provided by agencies like the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are invaluable resources that help in adopting cybersecurity by design, aligning transport organisations with the best cybersecurity standards.

Engage with Softcat

In conclusion, the road to digital transformation in the UK’s transport sector offers both challenges and opportunities. Through collaboration and strategic partnerships, we can navigate this complex terrain, driving towards a more efficient, secure, and innovative future for transport in the UK. If you’d like to find out more, please visit our dedicated page on the website.

Softcat will be hosting two panel sessions at Highways UK: 'How to Succeed as a Start-Up’ with Head of Transport and Central Government Chris Reynolds, and ‘Establishing a resilient ecosystem for the roads of the future’ focusing on cyber protection with Senior Security Architect Mark Williams. Both these sessions provide fantastic opportunities to dive deeper into the critical issues facing the transport and highways sectors