By Matt Bunn, Co-Founder of Capita Scaling Partner
London Tech Week took place last month, with the Global Leaders Innovation Summit dubbed as the headline event. The meeting involved influential figures from across the public and private sector coming together to discuss the tech ecosystem, its current challenges, and how innovation can be meaningfully adopted in such a fast-growing space.
This year’s event featured senior spokespeople at companies such as Ford, IBM and Dell.
The discussion was wide ranging, but key themes included sourcing tech talent, reskilling the workforce for the digital future, and creating ‘tech titans’ in the UK.
An intriguing discussion played out, and these topics resonated with what we’re seeing at Capita Scaling Partner and what our portfolio of tech startups are actively looking to achieve.
Finding digital talent
Many leaders cited a fundamental problem being sourcing tech talent in the UK. It’s a huge issue, and one that we come across when working with companies from a wide variety of sectors.
We believe that enterprises need to embrace different business models in order to access a broad pool of talent. Demand for software developers has skyrocketed, which is an effect of entering a new digital age, so unless you can compete with enormous firms offering increasingly high salaries and great employee value propositions, you need to find new ways of tapping into tech talent.
‘Elastic teams’ of developers, existing more like groups of contractors, may be the right solution rather than having talent in-house, for example. The pandemic has certainly highlighted different ways of working, and many coders have embraced this. CTOs and CIOs need to be considering these alternative avenues to add to their existing talent.
Reskilling the workforce for the digital future
There’s not a lack of learning content out there – the problem lies within how it’s delivered. Employees today are often presented with a thousand different courses that enterprises spend millions on each year. The trouble is they’re not often relevant or personalised to an individual
A great way to address the L&D problem is reducing the noise of learning content libraries, and when employees actively engage with a course to learn a new skill, using adaptive technology to ensure they’re only working on what they don’t know.
As is often the case, the problem can be solved with technology. There are great platforms that can help to filter content libraries and, by harnessing the powers of AI, great ways to learn skills much faster. So, in the process of preparing the workforce for the digital future, employers need to get ahead of the curve and implement futuristic tech strategies in their organisations now.
Creating tech titans in the UK
The speech delivered by Rt Hon Nadine Dorries – the recently appointed Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – really stood out for us at the Global Leaders Innovation Summit. She discussed the need to create technology titans in the UK that can rival the likes of the US. Her views struck a particular chord as they echo our own views on the UK’s tech sector; to be blunt, it’s the purpose behind Capita Scaling Partner.
As Dorries pointed out, the UK is very good at R&D. We produce a plethora of innovative new tech. However, we are terrible at commercialising it. The UK is more than capable of having its own Silicon Valley, but the potential for ‘tech titans’ like Apple and Microsoft are stopped short in this country when it comes to being introduced to the market.
This colossal problem is exactly why we created Capita Scaling Partner. Inventors of technology are brilliant at creating exciting new technology. When it comes to commercialisation, in our experience, further help is required.
There is a clear need for the commercial world to partner with the tech world, developing repeatable commercial propositions where there are clear business cases for it. In order to grow the UK’s tech sector, they need to be focusing on the benefit to the client on a granular level by carrying out extensive research and planning out a roadmap. This is the way the country can take great tech ideas from tech startups to tech titans.
Your guide over the valley of death
Startups have to raise a lot of revenue very quickly or they go bust. This is particularly prominent with tech startups and the huge overheads they experience before they even begin to start selling licence fees.
The first stage of a startup is often called the ‘valley of death’ and for good reason. There is an enormous chasm between innovation and revenue where costs are very high and there is no money coming in. We shorten that valley, getting startups traction quickly, making it much easier to survive the treacherous road ahead.
By doing so, we aim to make the UK not only a hub of innovation but commercialised tech too, allowing leaders to implement brilliant solutions to solve some of the biggest challenges they’re facing today.