A key figure in the UK’s tech scene has called on the government to put cloud technologies at the heart of its Industrial Strategy.
Matthew Evans, executive director of trade body techUK, says that a change of attitude and awareness towards digital, alongside a focus on skills, is key to driving the nation’s digital economy.
“There is a clear job for Government to do more,” he told BusinessCloud.
“For instance, given the importance of cloud technologies to delivering on much of the Government’s agenda for the digital economy, including artificial intelligence and cyber security, techUK believes that cloud should be fully recognised within the Industrial Strategy.
“It should form a part of the consideration of all sector deals and grand challenges.”
The UK faces a productivity challenge: when comparing GDP per hour worked it lags behind Germany, France, the United States and Italy.
“Our digital sector is already one of the jewels of the UK economy, growing faster and creating jobs at a faster rate than most other sectors. But it can also help address our productivity challenge and supercharge the wider economy,” Evans continued.
“You just have to look at the difference in the use of digital tools: fewer than 20 per cent of UK enterprises use software to share information across their organisations compared to 40 per cent in France and over 50 per cent in Germany.”
He explained that increasing awareness of the power of digital requires action by both the digital sector and Government.
“The reasons for the lack of digital adoption throughout the society can be broadly attributed to attitude and awareness, costs and skills challenges,” Evans said.
“We – UK Plc – must address all three if we are to close the productivity gap, which is essential if we are to increase wage growth.
“We in the tech sector cannot be complacent that companies will adopt our tools in one area just because their counterparts in another have done so. We must be better at understanding the cultures, practices and organisational set-ups in different markets.”
Evans said government also needs to review whether the current tax relief system meets the needs of the modern, digitally enabled, economy as software products such as CRM systems have moved away from one-off purchases to a subscription model featuring continuous upgrades.
He added: “The skills challenge cannot be underestimated; the UK will need an additional 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled people by 2022.
“If government and industry are to meet this challenge then we need to ensure that the apprenticeship levy is fit for purpose, that computing needs to be placed on the same level as Maths and English at A-Level and that we all come together to develop a plan for future skills and lifelong learning.”