Ricahrd Burley

Demystifying Digital – Part 1

“Digital” is a word so often used, by so many, in so many contexts, that it can almost seem as if it might mean everything, but its frustrating intangibility can leave us feeling it is inaccessible or perhaps even irrelevant to us.

“Digital” is most valuable when it is simply “including information technology approaches in all our thinking”. But this is not as simple as it might at first seem…

Digital must exist well beyond, and indeed well before; “apps”, “websites”, “databases”, “files” and / or “social media”. Today’s customer / consumer lives in a deeply digital world.

We all want more control and convenience in all aspects of our lives and digital is the only cost-effective method to make this a reality.

Fundamental to commercial success over the next three years, and beyond, will be exactly how digital we, as service suppliers, can become.

The ability to access and manage our experience of all that an organisation can offer us is becoming a defining factor in selecting who we entrust with our money and time. To many it is already as important as “quality” or “cost” as a decision driver. Indeed, increasingly, potential customers will simply not even know about you if you have not at least begun addressing some of the key digital fundamentals.

Beyond the “basics” of searching for you online, finding your contact information and booking an appointment with you, it is easy to see how customers will expect to be able to actually hold the appointment with you online, or access live video of the animals we are caring for on behalf of them overnight…. Which one of us wouldn’t want to check in on a loved one just before bed if we were able? Or use a “health tracking” wearable or implantable device for better insight into the health of an animal over the medium to long term… how long until this starts proactively warning us if the animal is starting to become unwell?

These are just a very small number of ways in which being “digital” can, and will, help us engage more directly and powerfully with our stakeholders.

Through ViVet the RCVS is committed to providing clear, effective and valuable advice on innovations in animal health and welfare, so expect more from us on “digital” very soon, in the meantime we’d love to hear from you below on any of the ways “digital” is impacting on the way you work today, or any of the challenges or opportunities you feel it presents for the future of the veterinary professions.

Richard Burley joined RCVS as Chief Technology Officer in August 2017 with a remit to support the College’s ongoing digital transformation. With more than 20 years’ experience in Technology and Information leadership across the international private, public and charitable sectors he also brings a passion for positive change in advancing organisations towards best practice information management, a truly empowered workforce and fully engaged and inspired stakeholders.


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