Whoever wins the election, IT will be vital

It is very unlikely that anybody who goes to the polling booth this week will base their voting decision on the IT policies of the parties listed before them.

But the fact that Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg, and, erm, Francis Maude, all offered to write exclusively for Computer Weekly about the IT policies in their manifestos demonstrates that all three major parties recognise the importance of the role that technology – and IT professionals – will have to play over the term of the next government.

The Labour Party even identified the need to build a high-tech economy as one of their five election pledges.

So IT experts might not determine who wins, but they will help to determine whether or not the next prime minister is deemed a success. The new government comes in at a time when technology is starting to play a more pivotal role in the way we all live, work and play than ever before. We are on the cusp of an IT and communications revolution that promises to radically change the relationship between consumers and companies, between citizens and the state, and between individuals and communities.

It is a moment in time that a smart government should look to grasp – and that an out-of-touch government will no doubt miss completely.

Whoever is in power, we all know that the economy will be the priority – and it is here that IT professionals can step up and take their rightful place in the working environment. The only way that the UK can return to growth – and also achieve the efficiencies needed to cut costs and reduce the deficit – is through the innovative use of technology.

And with the increasingly insatiable desire for new gadgets and gizmos, for social media and for internet use, it is not just businesses and the public sector that are looking to technologists for inspiration.

This General Election will not be decided by IT, but for IT professionals it can – and must – be a turning point for our industry.