Moving the IT industry forward

Moving the IT industry forward

The government will push UK information technology skills out to the world

The UK government has launched a new marketing strategy that will promote the UK’s expertise in Information Communication Technology (ICT). The launch took place at the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

The five year strategy intends to market all types and sizes of UK ICT businesses overseas. A marketing strategy board will be made up of figures from the industry and government, and will decide on shared messages to drive the strategy forward. The government plans to coordinate with the private sector to maximise resources.

The marketing strategy will focus on eight different sub-sectors. Four of these are classed as ‘horizontal’ because they relate to a field of technology. These are: communications, industrial electronic, enterprise software, and consumer electronics. Four sectors are ‘vertical’ because they are organisations for which the technology is designed. They are: e-government, financial services, healthcare, and retail and logistics.

Speaking at the launch, Digby Lord Jones, Minister for Trade and Investment, said the strategy shows recognition of the industry’s importance to the UK; the UK earns 6.6 per cent of its GDP from the ICT industry and the sector employs more than a million people.

Although the government has set up the initiative, next year the industry is expected to take over full responsibility for the strategy’s marketing direction, Lord Jones said.

The launch marked the start an opportunity for the industry to share its views on the strategy. “We’re launching a consultation at the same time we’re launching a strategy. We want to make sure we are getting it right in its implementation and not just its formulation,” Lord Jones said.

The strategy intends to market businesses “as professionally and effectively as possible,” a government report said. “Businesses and other countries need to clearly understand what they are getting by deciding to invest in the UK and what the strengths of UK companies are,” said Lord Jones.

Dominic Jeremy, UK Trade and Investment Sectors Group managing director, said the UK is in a strong position to attract businesses because of its non discriminatory culture, the reliable regulatory system and a strong rule of law. France is a strong rival but England is actually “on the edge” of a lot of technology such as the telecoms industry, he said.

John Higgins, Intellect director general, said there are challenges the UK needs to overcome, such as the geeky image of the IT industry, and the “perception problem” that everything the UK government does concerning IT is a disaster.