Scottish Tech Sector Must Focus on ‘People’ to Ensure Post-Brexit Success

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Technology firms need to ensure that employee engagement is placed at the heart of every strategy, according to cloud solutions specialist Brightsolid.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has urged the UK’s tech industry to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union (EU), claiming it will give the UK’s digital sector “the certainty it needs to continue to thrive”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the EU has agreed to “develop a future partnership” with the UK that will “facilitate e-commerce and its growth; reduce unjustified barriers to digital trade in order to drive competitiveness; enable data to continue to flow freely; and drive innovation through the exchanging of information, experience and best practice on emerging technologies in the future”.

Wright added: “Our message to the UK’s world-leading digital and tech businesses is clear. We have secured the best deal possible to protect our businesses and make sure our personal data is processed safely and securely.”

The deal will help support the UK’s talented tech innovators and future emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, while addressing unjustified barriers to digital trade, according to Wright.

He said: “Businesses big and small, and in every sector of the economy – from video games makers to hotel and travel companies, mail order firms to manufacturers – want certainty. We now need to back the prime minister and get the job done.”

Free flowing data

The Government said that the digital and tech industries employ more than 2.1 million people in the UK and generate £130 billion in revenue. It believes the Brexit deal will ensure a free flow of data between the UK and the EU, and “protect against barriers to trade and create an open, safe and secure online environment”.

A DCMS statement read: “The Government estimates three-quarters of the UK’s service exports to the EU rely on data flows, so it is absolutely essential they continue unhindered post Brexit.”

It added that the EU and UK plan to “put in place arrangements on personal data so that it is protected and can be processed safely and securely. This will mean that once the implementation period is over (on 31st December 2020), we can continue to reap the economic benefits that come from the free flow of data”.

Vicky Glynn, product manager at Brightsolid, an Edinburgh-based provider of colocation and cloud solutions, welcomed the statement and believes that ‘people’ will be the key to ensuring Scotland’s tech sector remains strong post-Brexit.

She said: “The recent announcement by Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, marks a significant step in providing the tech industry with insight on how we will be able to thrive in a post-Brexit world.

“However, while the free flow of data and ability to share best practice with EU based organisations is welcomed and will allow us to continue to operate in a ‘business as usual’ manner, we must remember that central to any growth post-29th March 2019 will be as a result of an organisation’s people.

“No matter how the deal ends; as not only a Scottish, but UK business, we need to ensure that we are able to offer our people the opportunity to upskill, encourage new recruits into the industry and ensure that employee engagement is placed at the heart of every strategy.

“Afterall, by taking care of our people, the industry will reap the benefits not only from a productivity and reputational perspective, but it might even help the bottom line too.”

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