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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Making BrITain Great

Micro Focus have just launched an interesting and needed campaign to promote the technology sector in the UK, which I fully support (here). The manifesto makes five directional recommendations for fiscal, entrepreneurial and academic action to promote a more vibrant and stronger technology sector:
1. Increase the availability of world-class technology talent in the UK;
2. Harness the expertise and goodwill of technology leaders of UK origin around the world to coach leaders of UK-founded, emerging technology businesses;
3. Radically change the tax incentives available to companies and individuals who want to invest in growing technology businesses;
4. Implement specific fiscal incentives for UK-founded tech companies seeking to accelerate world-leading R&D;
5. Proactively encourage international technology companies to invest in a UK hub.

One of the ways for government to help I found is often undervalued and which could have a dramatic impact in supporting new, innovative technologies, is the relaxing of the procurement process for technology start-ups. This would not only help in developing a vibrant, start-up environment in the UK (let’s not forget the key role played by government, in particular defence, in helping establish Silicon Valley), it would also help in improving government’s productivity.

A recent article from McKinsey highlights the need for improvement of e-government for example:
progress on the e-government front appears to have plateaued over the past few years. Many new e-government initiatives have neither generated the anticipated interest among users nor enabled clear gains in operational efficiency. In the face of unprecedented fiscal constraints, as well as users’ heightened expectations based on the integration of the Internet into their daily life and work, it is imperative that the public sector refine its approach to e-government to ensure that these initiatives achieve maximum impact.


One of the reasons indentified by McKinsey is the lack of Web-related capabilities. This means recruiting teams with the right skills to drive these initiatives and to leverage the new, innovative technologies out there to drive for more efficient government.

Relaxing procurement processes to allow innovative, tech start-ups without (yet) the balance sheet required to sell to government, would not only help in establishing world class companies, it would also allow for better government.

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