With an headline goal of establishing Scotland as a world-class digital leader a key activity is to showcase case studies of those who are already pioneering this innovation, for others to emulate.
At 400 years old the Registers of Scotland is the world’s oldest public land register, but today act as a beacon of excellence in harnessing technology modernization towards this goal, for all of Scotland’s public sector to follow.
RoS has a range of customers including solicitors, estate agents, construction companies, central government and local authorities among others, whose requirements provide the focus of their Digital Transformation program.
This includes better utlizing their data to personalize online services, like producing bespoke reports for clients such as the Royal Bank of Scotland case study, which describes how they provide weekly reports to eliminate the considerable manual workfload the bank mortgage team faced when monitoring their applications.
The registers are central to a range of industry workflows, for example the Development Plan Approval is used for new housing developments, and they have improved this process by working collaboratively with key users like house builders and solicitors, as described in video interviews with Taylor Wimpey and Gillespie MacAndrew.
Building Digital Skills
Cultivating the skills required to achieve these improvements highlights the importance of other Scottish initiatives such as CodeClan.
As described in this blog, RoS undertakes a program of ‘Developing the Developers’, building skills across essential functions such as Agile Scrum masters, UX design and Business Analysis, and have sourced some of these talented individuals by recruiting CodeClan graduates.
Government as a Platform
This greater depth of technical skills enables more proactive innovation and development of new digital services, such as ScotLIS, a “one stop shop digital database for land and information services”, an online land and information system that will ultimately allow citizens, communities, professionals and business users to find out comprehensive information about any piece of land or property in Scotland with a single enquiry.
Furthermore they are also pioneering ‘Government as a Platform’, the central feature being a software API that enables third parties to build upon your systems and extend them in new, innovative ways.
RoS presents API Services, with supporting documentation, offering programmatic access to services such as the Land Register. As explained in this blog this enables their customers to embed their services directly into their own workflow systems, such as legal firms like Russell & Aitken who have leveraged the API to integrate the process into their own internal case management application to better streamline their own business operations.
What future innovations might RoS pioneer next? How might they encourage Scotland’s entrepreneur community to leverage their APIs and create new digital business models atop these data and registry workflow foundations?
This highlights the other critical dimension of their Digital Transformation strategy, the emphasis on focused innovation. As they highlight on their blog RoS has established innovation centres, to cultivate exactly this type of organizational brainstorming, through a variety of activities such as hosting guests to share their experiences.
In terms of technological innovations of course the Blockchain is one highly likely to feature in their future at some point.
Given the Blockchain is fundamentally a registry system then naturally this is a very fertile area for its application. As Anglia Research describes it is specifically intended as a ledger system for enabling and recording asset transfers, and CoinDesk provides this detailed examination of the use case, highlighting how one aspect of natural disasters is the potential loss of all paper based versions of these records, avoidable through encoding them on the Blockchain.
A number of countries are already blazing a trail in this area, including the UK, Sweden and Georgia each trialling implementations at different stages; it’s estimated the Swedish adoption could save taxpayers €100m. Chromaway, the supplier behind the Georgian system, discuss the scenario in more technical detail through this presentation, and this paper ‘A blockchain based property ownership recording system‘.
Registers of Scotland recently held an ‘innovation month’ to introduce and brainstorm the potential.
As part of our focus on future technologies, we ran several sessions during #InnovationMonth around blockchain!
— Registers of Scotland (@RegistersOfScot) December 5, 2017