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Digital economy a challenge for all suppliers

The chance for the industry to share its views about the government's Digital Economy plans ends today

Those channel players thinking of getting involved with the government's digital strategy better ensure they are able to demonstrate their own competency in this area.

The deadline for submissions from public and industry for comments and suggestions on just what the government's Digital Strategy should be closes today and has already sparked some debate about just what steps should be taken over the next five years.

One of the suggestions from cloud services player Skyscape would have ramifications for any of those looking to get involved with the G-Cloud programme.

"Skyscape recommends that in order to grow a UK cloud infrastructure market that is capable of competing with the US incumbents, the awards and loans that Innovate UK (and any other Government funded initiative) make to emerging UK digital businesses should be based on a precondition that any supply chain being used to deliver the awarded proposition is composed solely of UK businesses that demonstrate digital innovation and the capability for growth," is the first of a three point list of recommendations from the cloud player.

The need for proving that it is not just about product delivery but also the ability to demonstrate that the business lives and breathes digital is something that could become an issue for the channel if that sort of recommendation was adopted as part of the Digital Strategy.

Skyscape is also keen for central government to do more to promote G-Cloud to those parts of the public sector that are not mandated to use the framework to give more chances for those that do get approved to get greater levels of business.

“As a company that is proud to be part of the UK’s digital success story, we were keen to share our insight and experiences to help shape the UK’s digital strategy for the next five years.  Significant progress has been made in recent years to digitise public services; the G-Cloud Framework and GOV.UK are prime examples of the UK’s innovative approach, but more is needed to be done to keep the UK at the forefront of the global digital revolution," said Simon Hansford, Skyscape’s CEO.

The Digital Strategy consultation is being spearheaded by the Digital Economy minister Ed Vaizey, who has outlined his ambition to get the UK in a strong position by the end of the decade.

"Come 2020, undoubtedly the UK landscape will have changed to be firmly in the digital age. But how do you want to shape that? Government has ideas and ambitions but as Tech City UK back in 2010 shows, the ideas are out there. So challenge us - push us to do more. Let’s show the rest of the world how it’s done," he said.

"When people want to start a digital business, trial new ways of working or invest in cutting-edge technology, we want them to choose the UK. This is about nurturing the digital frontier, firmly planting our stake in the digital global market, and getting the world to buy into our success. This revolution is here to stay, and the UK as the ‘Tech Nation’ is the future we want to be building," he added.

Just before Christmas Unite issued a warning that not enough was being done to support the SME sector and spread the benefits of the digital economy.

The union came out with its own ideas in: A Digital New World – Unite’s Charter for Workers in UK Information Technology and Communications industries.

One of the main criticisms of the current strategy contained in the document was the assertion that SMEs were being left out of the digital revolution and suggested that the government purchased services through more home-grown small firms.

“The Unite briefing is aimed as a template to ensure that the UK does not fall behind its global digital competitors in this fast-moving industry environment," said Unite national office for ITC, Ian Monks.

Unite estimates that the ITC sector in the UK employs about 700,000 people with a further 1.3m support staff.

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