Last month I wrote a piece supporting the government’s desire for a genuine Industrial strategy and called on IT to be front and centre of it alongside the likes of the financial sector and engineering.

One month on, I was pleased to hear the minister Greg Clark echo similar sentiment during his speech at the LEP network dinner held at the Royal Automobile Club where he highlighted the work already underway by his department to deliver a robust strategy that enables the UK to capitalise on its strengths, with IT being one of those industries name checked.

However, the calls for government to move faster just like the EEF (trade body for Britain’s engineering and manufacturing businesses) did over the weekend, is not necessarily the most helpful. Whilst I agree with their sentiment, I would also argue that businesses and public sector bodies can ill afford to hold back and wait for something that may or may never happen for them.

Yesterday’s announcement of Heathrow proves even the grandest and well thought out plans are riddled with dangers and inevitable obstacles. A strategy gives direction, something for people to hold the government accountable for but fundamentally those who will deliver it and will make it and the UK economy either a success or a failure will be the business community and innovative leaders.

Great challenges lay ahead for us all. For risual, our consulting and managed services remains ahead of the competition and our focus is now on the development of our own intellectual property as we continue to grow in both scale and capacity. For the business community and the UK there are a whole host of challenges that lay ahead which require serious attention.  By putting IT at the core of decision making, we can work in collaboration with clients to achieve the digital transformation which I believe is now a necessity and help clients achieve value for money at the same time.

From the everyday users and workers, to the leaders and decision makers, I would encourage all industries and public sector bodies to explore the power technology brings to the table for us to make both the strategy and our impending future a successful one.

Away from the obvious future challenges of our national skills shortage and ageing population, I have identified three key themes which I believe need immediate attention: Productivity, Collaboration and Cyber-Security.

In terms of productivity, we face a national crisis with output per hour across the UK 21% lower than the likes of France, Germany and the US. The erosion is alarming in that it has occurred at a time of profound technological change which in theory at least, should be fueling huge improvements in workplace efficiency.  Industry rather than government must take the lead to combat this epidemic. Given that business can ill afford to standstill, I would encourage working in tandem with risual to take advantage of real-time analytics and use it as a game-changer to anticipate and adapt to rapidly evolving markets or citizen dynamics as they occur.

As for collaboration, tools such as Office 365 and Skype for Business allows for real-time collaboration and capitalising on Power Bi Analytics, Dynamics CRM and SharePoint gives us the function to achieve real time updates and collaboration that can make us compete with our nearest rivals and challengers.

And finally, the need to improve Cyber-Security is the one that is becoming harder to ignore. These threats are growing more ominous for us all.  As Microsoft’s Worldwide Finalist for Public Safety and National Security in 2016 and the Microsoft UK Country Partner of the Year winner for 2015, Microsoft’s decision to invest in the creation of three new UK data centres now ensures data remains in the UK. Unlike many, risual offer an entire security cleared workforce which includes our rMS (risual Managed Service) team based in the UK built on ITIL and ISO standards that provides 24/7 proactive monitoring and security patch management.

Brexit of course has inevitably caused uncertainty and only now are we beginning to see some of the genuine challenges that lie ahead for us all.  The industrial strategy will be a positive for both business and the public sector and I welcome the fact government is eager to engage with the likes of risual, who have a growth mindset and are not afraid to challenge or be challenged.  But businesses and the UK should not be waiting for it.

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