UK is tech leader in G20

By Louise Fellows, O2 public sector champion and Managing Partner, central government

I felt proud when I read this report from the London Stock Exchange on the fastest-growing and most dynamic 1000 companies in the UK today. Apparently “the UK tech sector has been growing faster than any other part of the economy for several years, with the number of tech-related companies rising by 31% since 2010. That is equivalent to 45,000 new businesses, or one company every hour of every day for the past five years.”

Tech and digital businesses currently make up 12.4% of the UK economy, the highest proportion in the G20 set of nations, and 1.46 million people are employed in UK tech and digital industries.

These findings have made me think about the wider impact that digital transformation is having across the public and private sectors.

Tech investment benefits other sectors

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the growing success and influence of the tech sector also has an influence on other major economic sectors, such as manufacturing. Indeed, the report says: “Investment in new technologies, from 3D printing and robots to nano-technology, is enhancing the manufacturing sector.”

In fact, looking away from the brilliant performance of the tech sector for a moment, it’s important to recognise that 25% of the companies featured in the report are in the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors. This is indicative that these sectors are still able to adapt, innovate and grow in spite of the challenges facing them.

And that further supports my belief that we need to stop seeing technology and digital innovation as something ‘separate’ from ‘regular’ work, and start seeing it as something integrated and implicit in all our lives. Of course, a large part of this mindset shift needs to come from the tech sector itself. By creating digital and mobile solutions that actually complement the way that other sectors and industries want to work, we’ll be able to better serve the people in these positions.

‘People first’ technology affects every industry

Whether you’re developing apps or housing estates, I think it’s important that when technology is introduced to any process, it puts people first. After all, all this talk of ‘digital transformation driving economic growth’ really comes down to providing greater resources and opportunities for our society, whether that’s in the public or the private sector.

Those looking to drive digital transformation in their own organisation should bear in mind that the most successful solutions are those that are as capable of adapting to the needs of people, as people are of adopting new technology.

Have you seen the ways that technology is helping or hindering your industry to grow? I’m always curious to know how other companies are looking at digital transformation, so if you’d like to discuss this with me further, I can be contacted directly on 07912 398 323. And to find out how O2 can help you put your people first, visit our website.