techUK Insights RSS Feed - techUK RSS feed for insights content. en Copyright (C) 2015 Making the Case for Govtech SMEs Tue, 02 Jan 2018 14:44:46 +0000 Simona Paliulyte(techUK) SME survey findings will help improve access to the public sector market <p><img src="images/assets/Fotolia_124568856_Subscription_Monthly_XL.jpg" alt="Fotolia 124568856 Subscription Monthly XL" /></p> <p>To better understand the views of SMEs operating in the public sector tech market, techUK undertakes an annual survey to capture their experiences. The key findings of the 2017 survey of nearly 140 GovTech SMEs include:</p> <p>• 90% did not think that civil servant buyers have a good understanding of how SMEs can meet their needs (a 4% improvement on the previous year)</p> <p>• 95% supported the government’s 33% target of awarding central government procurement spend to SMEs and a majority of respondents viewed the G- cloud framework as being useful for SMEs to access the public sector market</p> <p>• 95% stated that government should be doing more to improve the SME experience as part of the supply chain route to selling into the public sector</p> <p>The findings highlight the urgent need to improve engagement between the industry and government earlier in the commissioning process to expose civil servants to the innovative technology that’s available in a fast moving market. Throughout 2018 techUK will be working with the Cabinet Office and government departments on a range of activities to improve access the public sector tech market, including a series of market engagement events to help SMEs gain business with government.</p> <p>techUK will be launching a report on ‘Procuring the Smarter State: key steps to promote innovation and growth in the public sector’ on 30 January 2017. This report will provide further analysis on the SME survey and outline key recommendations to promote innovation in the public sector, and help dynamic British based SMEs to scale and grow.</p> <p><strong>Further Information</strong></p> <p><a href="">The Future of Public Sector ICT Procurement</a></p> <p><a href="">Making the Case for GovTech SMEs</a></p> Defence Industrial Policy Refresh Thu, 21 Dec 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Andy Johnston (techUK) techUK's initial views on the Refreshed Defence Industrial Policy released at the end of 2017. <p>techUK welcomes the Government’s Defence Industrial Policy Refresh (DIPR) released in mid-December 2017.</p> <p>The DIPR is the UK Government’s primary policy document concerning how MOD contracts for services and equipment, and how it plans to work with industry to deliver national capabilities. The DIPR sets out to clarify a number of procurement and commercial elements of Defence policy that greatly affect UK industry. Affecting everything from research &amp; development activities, and requirements setting, through to support to exports and intellectual property rights, the DIPR is a broad document that will demand much work to implement in 2018.</p> <p>MOD’s commitment to ‘Competition and Strategic Choice as the best means of delivering value for money, increasing innovation, and opportunities for SMEs’ is welcomed by techUK, indeed our members welcome competition and the chance to justify the efficacy of their products and services. techUK encourages MOD to pair this approach with a commitment to sustaining a level and fair environment in which to compete. As explored below there are elements of UK defence procurement that persist from previous years that reinforce outdated ways of working and make it hard for new entrants to compete with incumbent suppliers.</p> <p><strong>Commercial Transformation</strong></p> <p>The importance of commercial transformation with UK Defence cannot be understated, especially when placed in the context of engagement with the digital industries. The digital transformation led by ISS has progressed over recent years and has been coupled with a new approach commercial activities in Corsham too. As the Cabinet Office directives encourage shorter and more agile agreements for ICT services ISS has attempted to break down monolithic contracts intro smaller groupings of services. This approach should favour SMEs, offering them routes into MOD that were previously held by the traditional suppliers. Although there is evidence of this, it is widely known that progress here has been slow. techUK members are keen to support this transformation and to embrace modern ways of contracting for digital products and services. In 2018 we look forward to working with Andrew Forzani, MOD’s new Chief Commercial Officer, and the yet to be appointed Commercial Director at ISS.</p> <p><strong>The Digital Industries</strong></p> <p>techUK is somewhat disappointed to see that much of the references to digital platforms and information systems within the document is restricted only to industrial engagement purposes. Throughout the document ‘industry’ is described as broad groupings of capabilities, offerings, service providers, and innovators. As the Defence industry becomes ever more diverse this is very much welcomed and commended. However, there is no reference to the intricacies of the digital industries and the potential of such companies to revolutionise the public sector. As this is a broad policy document covering a multitude of areas this omission is understandable, however techUK will continue to work with MOD officials in order to ensure this message is communicated.</p> <p>techUK greatly welcomes the direct use of the Land Open System Architecture (LOSA) example within the document. LOSA is a good example of how the UK can lead on the development of open systems and create innovative commercial mechanisms. LOSA allows UK SMEs to be directly involved with an important and influential project, whilst maintaining full control and rights over their intellectual property, traditionally a tough challenge when dealing with open systems. techUK encourages MOD to maintain this approach to opportunities that allow UK SMEs to engage in collaborative discovery work. For work such as this it is critical that MOD identifies and defines the user-side demand, ensuring that the results of LOSA have a customer and an end-user, eliminating the Valley of Death.</p> <p><strong>Collection of Industry Data</strong></p> <p>As part of the Government’s prosperity agenda MOD will increase the frequency and rigour with which they collect information about UK Defence jobs, supply chain depth, and contribution to economic prosperity. The collection and utilisation of this kind of information should greatly support the extant efforts being made to show the economic value of Defence to the UK economy. However, it is important that the processes being established in order to collect this information are not overly arduous on industry. UK companies already provide much information to different government departments, and efforts should be made to discover and use the information already within MOD’s reach, then make sensible efforts to collect what else is needed.</p> <p>techUK would also suggest that the information that is being collected should also be at a level of granularity that makes it multi-purpose and useful for other purposes. To give an example; the collection of information on high-skilled technical roles within Defence would be used to demonstrate how Defence provides and maintains a number of high-value roles within the UK shores. Alongside this efforts should also be made to collect information on skills gaps in these areas. What jobs cannot be filled, what skills gaps are growing, and what can Govt. do to assist industry with this situation? The collection of data for the purpose of making positive statements about Defence and the industry that supports it is a worthwhile endeavour, and efforts should be made to ensure that this activity helps address as many of Defence’s challenges as possible. This activity is a good opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness in industrial engagement.</p> <p>The progress of the joint industry-MOD discussions on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are of vital importance to techUK members. At the time of writing the DEFCON currently being worked through by industry and MOD applies to more traditional equipment and services. However, following the completion of this work the next task in the process will be a DEFCON covering digital products and services, and contracts dealing with data-driven assets. The outcome of the primary DEFCON will heavily influence the approach made to the digitally-focussed DEFCON. techUK looks forward to engaging further on this work and will continue to urge MOD to take a sensible and future-leaning approach to IPR, recognising the huge investments that the private sector makes in order to develop innovative IP. techUK members develop products and services for a wide range of public sector customers; adequate protection of IPR is a major factor when looking for business; MOD has a real opportunity to appeal to innovative companies with a modern approach to IPR.</p> <p><strong>SME Policy</strong></p> <p>An important part of MOD transformation, both commercial and wider, in recent years has been the SME policy and Defence’s cultural approach to working with the UK’s smaller sized contractors. This has been a major point of interest for techUK since it was launched in 2015, and continues to be of importance for our members looking for business with the MOD. Overall techUK members have been disappointed with the pace at which the various activities within the SME Policy have been progressed since its launch. Elements such as the Supply Chain Advocate Network have struggled to gain traction within the Department and around the Commands, offering only limited opportunities for business.</p> <p>The DIPR shift towards early engagement and a simpler requirements setting process both favour SMEs, indeed many of the practical changes noted in the document would increase MOD’s ability to contract directly with SMEs. It is important for MOD to work with industry when forming these new engagement mechanisms, in fact it may be more important that MOD work with non-Defence contractors in order to understand how to appeal to potential new entrants.</p> <p>Transparency and visibility of opportunities is tackled directly in the DIPR paper; with the Twitter account @defenceproc and the new Supplier Portal ( being the two new primary engagement routes. techUK welcomes the technologically enabled nature of these additions and will work to share awareness within our community. However, DIPR does not address an important part of SME and new entrant engagement that overshadows these kinds of changes. The access that is afforded to incumbents across Defence is a huge bonus when searching for new business opportunities. Across the public sector the temptation for customers to ‘stick to those they know’ is undoubtedly strong, and unfortunately Defence is no different. Incumbent suppliers have the advantage of having physical presence on the floorplates of MOD sites, as well as relationships with civil servants. In some situations and contracts this is preferable for all, including national security considerations. However, this culture does stifle the SME agenda and makes it hard for SMEs to feel they can compete on a level playing field. techUK implores MOD to ensure the Supplier Portal is treated as the definitive place to post contracts, and that (as much as is possible) contracts are released to industry concurrently across all sites and platforms. UK SMEs welcome competition and the chance to prove their products and services are the best available, Government has an obligation to ensure the playing field is as level as possible.</p> <p>techUK members also look forward to assisting MOD with the development of the ‘supply chain plans’ for contracts worth more than £100 million. With increasingly effective cyber-attacks and economic uncertainty given the Brexit negotiations the resilience and health of the UK Defence supply chain is more important than ever before. Efforts to better understand and monitor the supply chain should be matched with initiatives from MOD, wider Government, and the prime contractors to support SMEs if they do encounter trouble.</p> <p>As noted in the DIPR techUK would greatly welcome a closer relationship with MOD in order to improve the guidance on engaging with potential suppliers and making more use of digital platforms. Digital ways of working are of particular importance and can be very powerful when working with SMEs outside of the traditional Defence localities around the UK (London and the South-West).</p> <p><strong>Final Thoughts</strong></p> <p>The DIPR is largely a collection of policies and activities that MOD and wider Government have publically stated previously. This consistency and stability is welcomed by industry; indeed policies that encourage competition and drive opportunities for new entrants are ideally suited for the fast-paced nature of the digital industries. However, it is the deployment of these policies that will be of pivotal importance. DIPR has allocated a number of tasks to MOD and to industry to fulfil in the coming months; there are a number of initiatives that require industrial input and support, and there are extant processes that require resolution. 2017 was a year that challenged the way that MOD distributed responsibilities, funds, and resources – arguably this affected the ability for officials to enact policies such as those noted in this DIPR. techUK looks forward to working with MOD on all the issues noted above, the digital industries are growing in their experience of affecting public sector markets and vastly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of traditional suppliers and customers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, what will techUK be doing to support the implementation of the DIPR? The bullet points below are techUK’s primary DIPR issues:</p> <p><strong>· Digital Transformation</strong><br />- techUK will continue to encourage MOD to develop more digital ways of working, and in particular, digital industry engagement mechanisms. We will continue to push for an approach to industrial engagement that engages directly with the digital industries and makes allowances for the intricacies of how our industry operates.<br />- techUK will continue to encourage the Front Line Commands to consider digital capabilities when setting all future equipment and service requirements.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>· SME Policy</strong><br />- We will engage directly with MOD and Minister Defence Procurement through the Defence Supplier’s Forum SME Forum to monitor the progress of the changes. techUK will offer support to the Supply Chain Advocates in order to help grow their profile as well as their knowledge of the digital industries.<br />- techUK will also survey members who use the Supplier Portal and feedback their thoughts to MOD on its ease of use and efficacy in helping them discover new opportunities.</p> <p><strong>· Commercial Transformation</strong><br />- techUK will support MOD with the development of standard contracting templates and the move to shorter and more agile contracts.<br />- Working directly with ISS techUK will offer industry support to shape information systems and services contracts in such a way that delivery and value for money are prioritised and innovation is encouraged.</p> <p><strong>· Defending the UK defence enterprise</strong><br />- techUK will continue to support and promote the CES+ and DCPP initiatives by extolling the importance of appropriate cyber security measures to all our members and partners.<br />- We will offer direct support to MOD in their activities to discover more information about the UK defence supply chain, including offering industry views on what data can be most readily collected and what will require more time or resources to collect and analyse.</p> <p><strong>· Support to Exports</strong><br />techUK will continue to work with MOD and DIT in order to provide UK companies, particularly SMEs, with opportunities in international markets. This will require techUK to engage with stakeholders and industry about a shift to support smaller opportunities within target markets. Recognising that not all SMEs can be supported directly by Govt. but that they may well be a minimum expectation from industry as to the support and expertise that they can access from the civil service.</p> <p><strong>· Intellectual Property Rights</strong><br />techUK will continue to work with MOD and ADS to complete the current work on IPR, prioritising the interests of industry who develop and utilise IP as a core part of their business. We then look forward to deeply engaging on the forthcoming DEFCON expected to address digital services and products later in the year.</p> Making the Case for Small Businesses Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:27:05 +0100 Simona Paliulyte(techUK) SME survey launched to help improve access to the public sector market <p><img src="images/assets/Fotolia_65940364_M.jpg" alt="Fotolia 65940364 M" width="1852" height="1026" /></p> <p>To better understand the views of SMEs operating in the public sector tech market, techUK has launched a comprehensive survey to capture their experiences. This is the third SME Survey techUK has undertaken, and the findings will be used to develop recommendations to promote innovation in the public sector, and help dynamic British based SMEs to scale and grow.</p> <p>The <a href="insights/news/item/9770-tech-smes-must-grasp-the-opportunities-as-government-opens-up-procurement">2016 SME Survey</a> highlighted that many SMEs feel they are struggling to access the public sector market with procurement processes and terms and conditions in contracts being highlighted amongst the top barriers to entry. Throughout 2017 techUK has worked with the Government Digital Service and the Crown Commercial Service on a range of activities to address these concerns, including a series of <a href="">market engagement events</a> to help SMEs gain business with the Public Sector.</p> <p>Real progress has been achieved in making it easier for SMEs to do business with Government, however there is still some way to go. As highlighted by techUK’s <a href="civil-servants-survey/main_findings">research in to the attitudes of civil servants</a>, only 21 per cent of civil servants believe that there is an appetite within their department or organisation to increase the involvement of SMEs in the procurement chain.</p> <p>Rob Driver, Head of Public Sector at techUK commented:</p> <p><em>“SMEs are at the forefront of driving innovation in the public sector and the Government must continue improving procurement processes to enable greater access for innovative SMEs. There are now more opportunities than ever for SME’s to access the public sector market as a result of our ongoing work with Government, and I would encourage you to complete the survey to support techUK to continue campaigning on your behalf”.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">COMPLETE SURVEY</a></p> <p>Completed the Survey? Make sure you tweet about it #govtechSME @techUK</p> techUK SMEs win MOD Automation Innovation Competition Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0100 Andy Johnston (techUK) 2iC Limited and Blue Bear Systems Research have been awarded Phase 2 funding for automated "last mile" resupply capability for the MOD. <p>At DSEI 2017 techUK was very pleased to see a strong focus on information, data, and digital solutions to defence problems. From AR and VR to cyber security solutions for defence and civilian customers, many companies who provide both hardware and software decided to promote the digital side of their business.</p> <p>Ministerial announcements during the week included the awarding of the Defence &amp; Security Accelerator (DSA) winners for Phase 2 funding of the latest competition "Last Mile Resupply". techUK would like to congratulate two of our SME members who were awarded Phase 2 funding for this exciting project.</p> <p>2iC Solutions and Blue Bear Systems Research have collaborated to develop a comprehensive autonomous last mile resupply capability which will enable unmanned vehicles to be part of the Whole Force Approach championed by MOD. The companies have worked together to create an innovative approach to open architecture for the networks and vehicle control to create a plug-and-play UAV solution to the problem. Collaboration has allowed 2iC to focus on the Autonomous Vehicle Service that coordinates the multiple systems and users, with Blue Bear developing the Unmanned Vehicle Environment which provides the autonomous vehicle and coordinating the physical task of resupply.</p> <p>The awarded Phase 2 funding with extend the project to include capability such as automated route planning, analysis of weather, geological and intelligence data, and real time feedback to the user amongst a host of other features.</p> <p>Graham Booth, CEO of 2iC Limited said: "This is a very exciting project and has already gained significant interest in the UK and around the world both within defence and in wider sectors".</p> <p>techUK looks forward to the next iteration of this collaboration and will continue to urge MOD to invest in autonomy technologies that make Defence tasks safer and more efficient. If you would like to read more about this joint project please <a href="">click here</a>.</p> National Shipbuilding Strategy - The Influence of Digital Fri, 08 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0100 Andy Johnston (techUK) Head of Defence, Andy Johnston's thoughts on the Government's National Shipbuilding Strategy. <p>On Wednesday of this week the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSBS) was released. The document sets out a renaissance vision for the UK’s shipbuilding industry that looks to return world leading naval projects and programmes to ship yards around the country.</p> <p>Whereas in previous strategies for this most traditional of military platform production there has only been a passing relationship with the digital industries in terms of collaboration, the NSBS often notes the importance of digital technologies and cyber security to the naval platforms of the future. This is very much welcomed by the techUK defence community.</p> <p>Modularity, Interoperability, and Innovation are noted as leading considerations for shipbuilding in the coming decades. All three are also key trends within digital technology markets, with a push on modularity being especially important to UK Defence. As all military naval platforms become more complex and the requirement to keep them connected, interoperable, and digitally protected will only increase it is vital that the digital tech community engages with the traditional maritime systems community to ensure joint direction of travel. The all-encompassing nature of digital technologies means that even traditionally ‘analogue’ industries such as shipbuilding must now engage with the tech sector if they want a shot at export success.</p> <p>The promise of a rejuvenated approach to British shipbuilding for the 21st century brings with it discussions of how other technologies will affect the Royal Navy on operations around the globe. The strategy highlights the potential impact of automation on platforms of the future, noting the fleet will include more surface and sub-surface unmanned platforms. techUK strongly welcomes this intention and would point towards the Information Warrior exercises of recent years as excellent examples of how industry stands ready to contribute to developing this vision. In a similar fashion the UK’s reputation for leadership in modelling, simulation, and ‘digital engineering’ positions the Royal Navy to benefit from naval platforms that could have reduced through life costs thanks to more accurate digital modelling and planning technologies.</p> <p>UK expertise in maritime systems, equipment, design, manufacturing, engineering, and naval architecture are all recognised throughout the world. Quite rightly, the strategy places a lot of emphasis on improving the UK’s approach to shipbuilding with exportability in mind. It is quite right that this consideration should be considered at the very start of the Defence Lines of Development (DLOD) process, and that exportability affects the decisions over depth of capability. It is also of vital importance that MOD leverage the deep well of skills and knowledge of exporting that exists within UK industry. Many major UK and international defence suppliers use the UK as their base for exporting to Europe and further afield. Within London, Bristol, and around the country there is a wealth of experience of negotiating tough international naval programmes from the outset, something that the UK civil service will have little of. Here a new relationship that values hard fought experience and cultural knowledge is needed.</p> <p>Following the SDSR 2015 MOD took on more responsibility for contributing to national economic prosperity through support to exports and certain trade missions. The international competitiveness plans set out within the NSBS are an ideal opportunity for the Royal Navy to contribute towards this goal. The ‘used by the UK’ brand which can apply to equipment and support services is influential in international markets and coupled with the increasingly prestigious UK tech brand, the information systems and services integrated in new naval platforms could become a leading UK offer.</p> <p>The reputation and prowess of the UK’s digital technology industry would be a major bonus to the exportability of naval platforms, but must be supported by a concerted effort to integrate open architectures and interoperability principles. As the new NSBS highlights, it is important that any programmes that are intended to be exported do not succumb to over specification from the UK customer. When addressing the issue of exportability the complexity of the information systems aboard the new builds (and indeed existing platforms) must be a top consideration. The issues here are similar to those of land and air platforms; can these systems become interoperable during their lifespan? How will they be maintained and updated? Is it even wise to include these systems in the sale of a platform?</p> <p>The UK Defence industry makes significant contributions to regional economies, as do tech clusters around the UK. The NSBS refers to regional clusters supporting shipyards and creating an international offer for other nations looking to use these yards for maintenance and upgrades. The UK’s digital technology clusters and companies based near the shipyards have an excellent opportunity to engage directly with these new communities and place themselves as valuable providers of technologies such as modelling, simulation, navigation, and communications technologies.</p> <p>The NSBS accepts the challenges of operating a shipyard with traditional industrial maritime manufacture processes, that is to say work can wax and wane, and without a sustained pipeline of work these national assets can become dormant, at the cost of thousands of jobs. Creating a pipeline of work and resilience in times of hardship will be key to this strategy, and ensuring that the industrial communities (both locally connected and further afield) are prepared to support this activity will be vital. Yet again this will rely on clear communication between industry and government regarding opportunities, and using a collaborative approach to prioritise the most advantageous national offer. On this point, although technology alone is rarely the definitive answer to a question this large, digital collaboration and information sharing tools could play an important role. Online remote collaboration enabling design, commercial, and engineering tasks could dramatically reduce cost and time spent on future programmes.</p> <p>A key challenge in the coming months will be for MOD to ensure that the NSBS and the yet to be released Defence Industrial Policy Refresh exercise dovetail on important points such as pace of procurement, a long term view of value for money, support to SMEs in the supply chains of large programmes, and prioritising interoperability and open standards. techUK will continue to work with MOD to promote these values that are invaluable to creating good relations between industry and their customer. The challenge then becomes enacting and delivering on these strategies.&nbsp;</p> ScaleUp Institute 2017 Business Survey Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:57:08 +0100 katherine Jay(techUK) The ScaleUp Institute needs your help to ensure that the UK is the best place in the world for companies to both start up and scale-up! <p>This year techUK are helping the ScaleUp Institute to ensure that the UK is the best place to grow a business in 2017. We want to know what is needed to help businesses achieve scale and we are doing this by urging members to complete the "ScaleUp Survey".</p> <p>The "ScaleUp Survey" is part of the ScaleUp Institute's ongoing work to focus attention on the UK’s high growth firms so we can ensure that the UK is the best place in the world for companies to both start up and scale-up!</p> <p>The survey takes no more than 15 minutes, <a href=";clientid=48">please click here to take part</a>.</p> <p>Responses are needed by 1st September 2017 and the results will be circulated shortly afterwards.</p> <p>We look forward to reading your feedback!</p> Venture Capital Unit - DIT Looks to Share Opportunities Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:12:01 +0100 Andy Johnston (techUK) The Department for International Trade's Venture Capital Unit is looking support UK companies. <p>Many investors search the globe for new and established start-ups with creative business models, clever products and advanced technologies. DIT's VC Unit (VCU) is here to help them find UK companies.&nbsp;</p> <p>Based in the Department for International Trade (DIT) the VCU will use it's well established relationships with many investors around the globe, the team shares teaser information with known contacts on an individual and personal basis, as relevant to that fund's specific focus.&nbsp;</p> <p>It also facilitates direct one-to-one connections and organises sector-specific pitching events. It also supports corporate VCs and VC fund managers in establishing operations in the UK.&nbsp;</p> <p>The VCU can offer support to businesses that are:</p> <p>- Achieving a stage of commercial maturity that could attract international-investor attention, which may vary from traction in the market to key technology milestones depending on sector</p> <p>- Planning to or actively rasising capital, from a few £m's upwards (no upper limit) and where the involvement of an international investor could be strategically valuable</p> <p>- Headquartered in the UK</p> <p>There are no fees levied.</p> <p>Contact if VCU can support your international engagement with investors then contact the team at <a href=""></a>&nbsp;</p> <p>Please see the downloadable flyer at the bottom of this page for further details.&nbsp;</p>