The purpose of the Primer was to inform and aid the IA community and stimulate further discussion and debate. However, the Primer provides a large amount of information on a complex and emerging area of practice.

To aid practitioners and stakeholders further, the following seven draft principles have been developed as a summary of key issues that a Digital IA project or organisation should strive to adopt.

Technology offers opportunities throughout the IA process.

From surveys, input to design and optioneering, consultation, data analysis, reporting and monitoring, the opportunities presented by digital tools and technology should be considered across all stages of the IA lifecycle.

Digital working can create a culture that promotes collaboration.

Digital expertise should be a core part of a project team from the outset to help design and facilitate digital working practices. Key benefits of a digital working culture include the pro-active identification of opportunities and constraints that come from working in a common data environment and from  multi-disciplinary working in shared digital workspaces. Raising digital awareness and providing guidance and training in digital working to IA professionals will lead to more effective digital cultures.

Information management underpins effective Digital IA.

The volume and pace of data generated within the IA sector is growing significantly and requires a structured framework to draw out the greatest value. Data handled without effective structures, ownership and assurance can lead to project risk and inefficiency. Governance around data management, quality and standards is essential for Digital IA to provide outputs such as digital reporting efficiently and deliver the best outcomes.

Effective communication increasingly necessitates digital communication.

Digital technologies can make IA outputs more digestible and engaging in a manner that modern audiences are increasingly accustomed to. Furthermore, consultation, stakeholder engagement, access to environmental information and transparency in decision making can all be enhanced through better use of digital communications.

Provide accessibility for all needs.

Data and digital tools need to be easily accessible and understood by a wide variety of audiences while still maintaining security and confidentiality.  

Regulation should be carefully considered when defining digital solutions, yet also provides an opportunity to facilitate innovation and digital working.

Regulatory requirements can present challenges to digital IA. However, industry regulators and stakeholders also play a key role in facilitating the adoption of Digital IA in order to unify current IA practices with digital processes.

Innovation and collaboration across the IA sector can improve outcomes for all.

Good practice across the IA industry and between IA sectors should be shared to inform wider practice. Best practice examples and lessons learned from protypes should be shared widely to raise standards and promote innovation across the IA community. New data, trends and analysis techniques should be reviewed as Digital IA evolves to continually develop and improve IA practice.