John Davis, Managing Director, BCSG
The initiative from techUK with their manifesto that calls for the government to invest more in digital technology is essential to the development of the sector here in the UK. The manifesto urges politicians and policy-makers to recognise the critical significance of the global digital revolution.
It calls for changes and actions at the most senior levels, including powerful new UK Digital Minister leadership roles in government, EU and beyond, a 'smart migration' policy that allows high growth companies to tap in to the world's best talent, developments to be made allowing the UK to become a world-leading domain in data protection and long term measures, including from the next government who will take or continue power from 2015, to ensure that the whole of the UK benefits. This last point is essential. London is the tech hub of the UK but it is necessary that the entire country is developed, rather than just focusing on specific pockets.
The CEO of techUK, Julian David, has come out saying that 'tech and digital have a fundamental role to play in almost everything the next government will need to do, as we continue to rebuild our economy for the 21st century … the key message for politicians is that voters and industry alike want the Government to secure our digital future.' I completely agree with Julian. The digital sector is now more important to society than ever before. So few things exist without experiencing significant technological developments and a top-down approach to support the activity is almost as essential as the individuals on the ground level creating the ideas and infrastructure. They need to be supported and encouraged to continue the UK's development as one of the world's leading tech communities.
The tech community in and around Silicon Roundabout, where BCSG is based, is thriving and vibrant but the country’s digital future needs to be driven much more broadly. Voters understand that their future and the future of their children depends upon how well the UK economy and society adapts to the new digital world. 65% of voters believe that it is Government's responsibility to plan for the future.
BCSG helps SMEs to manage their business better through effective use of tech. But in our experience, the vast majority of small businesses are still finding their feet in the digital space – with adoption of cloud applications relatively early stage. This manifesto outlines how the next five years are crucial for the UK, not just to be a digital leader but to use digital technologies to tackle the fundamental long-term social and economic challenges for the next generation. Digital innovation and inclusion are both vital to keep the UK’s economy moving in the right direction.
Given the SME segment accounts for 50% of UK GDP, focusing those efforts at small businesses will be a major contributor to that success. We are doing all we can as a business to help small companies to embrace technology and digital – and I am personally also doing as much as possible to raise the profile in this vital area (e.g. delighted to have been involved in Chuka Umanna and the Policy Network’s e-book ‘Owning the Future’). But we do need more and techUK’s efforts are pushing the government in the right direction.