The Cabinet Office has published details of central government’s plans to award IT contracts over the next three years, amounting to £1.6bn. The Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, explains how, by publishing their spending plans, they hope to forewarn industry of future demand. In doing so, they aim to highlight any skills gaps, with a view that UK businesses may gain a competitive advantage over international bidders. Skills shortages have proven to be a recurring issue within IT and, therefore, this knowledge should provide the IT industry with the confidence to invest in the identified areas of deficiency.
In addition to releasing the spending plans, The Cabinet Office has made a promise to provide an analysis of “strategic capability” for the IT industry, which will further assist businesses with investment decisions.
While this is positive news for the industry as a whole, it is even more so for SMEs who typically have the flexibility to respond swiftly to announcements such as these. SMEs are able to implement changes to their businesses within a much shorter timeframe and tailor their collective skills to recent or imminent demand – in this instance, those of the Cabinet Office’s requests.
In addition, the SMEs are likely to also be flexible enough to develop their propositions and technology to take advantage of burgeoning opportunity with far more speed than their larger competition. By demonstrating an adapted and suitable skillset and proven innovative offerings, smaller businesses will be able to compete with the larger UK and international IT suppliers, who are likely to have various corporate hurdles to jump before plugging skills gaps or committing to R&D.
SMEs should therefore take full advantage of their flexibility to bring about rapid change and not shy away from accelerating innovative IT products and services to the market. After all, there’s clearly an opportunity for it!