UKtech50: Putting IT at the centre of economic recovery

Influence can be a fickle thing. When Computer Weekly launched its UKtech50 programme to identify the most influential people in UK IT last year, we produced a definitive list of the real movers and shakers affecting every aspect of the IT community in this country. As we launch this year’s UKtech50 this week, 14 of last year’s list find themselves in a different role from 12 months ago – some through promotion, some through job moves, while others have for one reason or another simply left.

A 28% attrition rate among the UK’s most influential IT folk suggests either some are using their influence positively, or perhaps for others their influence has waned.

But it means it is a certainty that the 2011 UKtech50 will contain a lot of new names, and no doubt some surprises too.

The leaders who are chosen will be – should be – role models for every IT professional during a year that will be critical for the influence of technology itself on the UK’s economic recovery. We’re confident that the ongoing democratisation of IT will prove to be one of the biggest drivers of change in UK organisations over the next five years – if not the biggest.

IT leaders and IT professionals will have perhaps a once in a generation opportunity to develop and then cement their place as key influencers on the success of their employer and their customers. It will be more important than ever to learn from the example of those who are already in such a position. That, more than anything, is our goal for the UKtech50 – to be a catalyst for the advancement of UK IT professionals everywhere.

Earlier this year, we were all heartened by the promotion of UKtech50 winner and Tesco IT director Philip Clarke to become CEO of arguably the UK’s most influential retailer. Today, Tesco invests in two key areas of capital expenditure to grow its business – retail space, and technology. It’s not just the IT leader that has ascended to the top of the table at Tesco, it’s the IT itself. And that is how it should be.