At last some recognition that IT has a key role in growing our economy and that we should not resolve ourselves to losing such an important skill set to the rest of the world. The industry needs to embrace this opportunity with two hands and support this initiative as some politicians have.
What is good about this manifesto is that it start at the grass roots of bringing more skilled professional through academia into the industry right through to startups and at the very top level the role of large IT companies.
Some of my observations from speaking to our “target market”: Students selecting a career still perceive IT as a “geek” career whilst the biggest shortfall is in people that can translate business into IT solutions.
This is a role that requires both business awareness and IT awareness, people in these roles are typically paid a premium and a role that is not normally offshored or outsourced. Manchester University has recognised this and created a combined business / IT course, but more has to be done about raising awareness. In the world of start-ups these companies rely on venture capital at all stages of their growth.
However many Venture Companies actively encourage the outsourcing of product development to ensure their “investment” is being spent wisely. Enhancing the government R&D Tax Credit and making it easier for IT Companies would make a positive difference to relying solely on venture capital. Speaking to a number of startups often the barrier to the R&D Tax Credit being claimed is the simple definition of “innovation”.
Questions should be asked as to why VC’s are more risk averse in the UK than the USA and what can be done about this? The manifesto also addresses one of the key issues of “growth”.
We have great software innovations here but crossing the pond generally spells the end for many of these companies are they exhaust their hard earned venture capital and profits in trying to break out of the UK. We have to look at more ways we can help companies become global successes, afterall you can only name less than half a dozen companies in the UK that can claim Global success.