Last night, industry leaders met at Parliament with Dean Russell MP to map out the future of the UK's digital economy. Topics ranged from the pervasive digital skills crises and diversity in the tech industry to sustainability issues.
The discussion panel, chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR and hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford, convened business executives and policymakers to deliberate how businesses can be instrumental in fostering growth as well as innovation within the UK's digital sector.
Among the panellists were Ben Golub, CEO of Storj and Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance; Geoff Garrett, Co-Founder of Henry Dannell; Andrew Drylie, Investment Manager at Quadri Ventures; Emily Utton, COO for CLOWD9; and Sid Sarangi, Founder of Retailigence.
Golub raised the imperative of digital sustainability stating, "Digital sustainability is the biggest untold story out there. Politicians and environmental activists often warn of the existential threat of global warming, but few know about and truly understand the extent of the issue that digital sustainability presents and its impact on the Digital Economy." He noted that data storage and computation currently contributes to around 2.7-3.7 per cent of global carbon emissions, and with the world's unending appetite for data, it’s a matter that urgently requires attention.
Drylie, on the other hand, urged for support for early stage businesses. He iterated, "If the UK is going to compete with Silicon Valley, then we need a structured and formulaic approach, ensuring the right skills and infrastructure are in place to allow companies to thrive. There is a real squeeze on talent in early-stage companies, simply there are not enough people with the right skills to support long term growth plans."
Garrett from Henry Dannell pitched the latest technology-based solutions to boost client-advisor relationships. He stated, "We operate in a relationship-driven environment where the client/adviser interaction is paramount to driving successful outcomes. The Henry Dannell team are producing technology-based solutions to enhance the client journey and to allow more opportunity to develop those precious client/adviser relationships."
Sarangi of Retailigence suggested a paradigm shift in how the digital economy is presently viewed. He opined, "The term ‘Digital Economy’ itself seems to suggest that we are somewhat behind the curve. It should be replaced by 'Economy' as we are already in an age where every industry is heading towards (or needs to be heading towards) being digital first."
The broad-ranging discussion provided an engaging overview and valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges in the current digital environment - a strong step towards comprehending and navigating the future of the UK's digital economy.