Written by Justine Javelosa, Microsoft Solutions Consultant – 3rd November 2017

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution” of Britain under Brexit.

I was grateful to attend Future Decoded and Local Government Expo these past two days, both held here in London. Both events complimented each other and gave enlightenment of our current ICT environment in The UK, both in the public and private sector.

Future Decoded represents Microsoft’s powerhouse in the UK, gathering thousands of partners and customers across the country in Excel London. Seeing around five thousand of us in the same place is a testament of the collective commitment to transform The United Kingdom into a secure and digital country.

Keynotes from Microsoft USA and UK, distinguished partners from industries such as the energy, services and social giving shared their own experiences within their organisation, on how critical transformation is for the survival of their businesses and future.

Professor Stephen Hawking was originally lined up as one of the keynote speakers at Future Decoded but due to unforeseen circumstances, Professor Hawking was not able to attend. On the other hand, we had the pleasure of having the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond on stage and briefed us through the mission of Britain as one United Kingdom towards Brexit.

cyber-security

Digital Transformation was the main theme of this year’s Future Decoded, a real hot topic which needs immediate attention of our business leaders. The process of transformation brings huge opportunities for businesses to remain relevant and achieve growth margins but also poses new challenges which businesses needs to learn addressing properly. Industry 4.0, is the current trend of automation and data exchange, – the inevitable evolution of the Fourth Industrial revolution.

What this really mean is that we are now facing a new currency, which is DATA. How we handle the massive amount of data is vital for our security and continuity of our business activities both in the micro and macro sense.

Yesterday, I attended the Local Government Expo to learn from local government which challenges they face with procurement and expectations they have from suppliers. Malcolm Harrison, the newly appointed CEO of the Crown Commercial Service gave a keynote and emphasised the term “social value”. Throughout the day, speaker after speaker, the term “social value” has been repeatedly used in the context of innovation, collaboration and procurement.

The common denominator for both events was Brexit. Brexit, perhaps the biggest topic in Britain today, concerning not just our country, but Europe and the global economy, was the core of Phillip Hammond’s speech at Future Decoded and the debate topic at Local Government Expo.

What is going to happen with Britain now that we are under divorce negotiations with The European Union? How can we stay united and work towards one goal? Not all of us voted to leave The European Union and that is the very essence of democracy. However, the divorce is happening and it is our duty as citizens of this country to work collaboratively on how to make this work moving forward. Time is of great value and we cannot be the lagers not taking action in driving domestic growth in this country.

Britain introduced the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry on” in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War and the same slogan should apply to this country today. Of course, we are facing a different environment compared than in 1939 with the technological advancements we have, hence we should not be complacent while moving forward. We should leverage our position as the fifth largest economy in the world, the contribution of existing companies in the country and the talent pool we have.

Phillip Hammond launched the National Cyber Security Strategy at Future Decoded assuring us efforts in tackling the challenges Industry 4.0 entails to the security of our country. Malcolm Harrison gave his assurance of CCS efforts in securing innovation and social value through a simpler and transparent model of procurement. Both Hammond and Harrison prompted that we can achieve domestic growth and sustain our economy through collaborative efforts from both private sector as suppliers and public sector as buyers.

As part of the private sector working for Infinity Group, a telecom and IT provider, it is our role to provide knowledge to buyers on how we can achieve social value with our solutions aside from the benefits our solutions will provide the organisation. As supplier, we commit transparency on how a software solution might evolve and the costs it entails in the next years after deployment. The public sector on the other hand needs to be more diligent and transparent in specifying their needs, enabling more SMEs in the country to be more competitive.

‘IT software was once treated as a commodity, but it should not be anymore. Bespoke developments are now central in achieving the most optimal value of a software to an organisation and its business’.

The public sector procurement team should receive sufficient training which will empower them to choose the right solutions, not just from the lowest price aspect but also emphasising more weight in the social value creation a supplier can provide. The conversation and collaboration between sectors is vital to achieve domestic growth, innovation and social value for the greater British economy.

As Phillip Hammond said in his speech, “we have the reasons to make Britain the location of choice for cutting-edge digital business to start, to grow and to succeed. The reason why the Fourth Industrial Revolution should flourish in the home of the First.”

This is how Britain’s future is decoded under Brexit.

Picture Sources  https://twitter.com/PHammondMP/status/793430054667681792, https://twitter.com/PHammondMP/status/793430054667681792.