The UK has the potential to be an international technology powerhouse, according to analysts at Deloitte, but tough international competition, the risk of an R&D exodus, and a lack of UK-based tech companies means success is "not assured", the firm warns in a report.
Old fashioned British reserve could also prove to be a major weakness. The report says that it is important for the UK not to shy away from highlighting weaknesses in other countries, especially if it could bring in business.
William Touche, technology partner at Deloitte argues that the UK has a relatively strong position at the moment: "We have a strong science base, good innovations in a number of important areas, a strong economy and a leading financial market," he says. Touche also points out that the UK already has a strong foundation in stem cell research, biotechnology, micro-electronics, semi-conductor design, software and opto-electronics.
But, Touche cautions, an over-reliance on international technology companies means the UK is still exposed, particularly given the continued decline in the manufacturing sector.
"While multinational technology companies make a major contribution to the UK’s economy," Touche notes,"in the long term it is in the country’s interest to have more nationally-domiciled, profitable technology companies delivering intellectual property (IP) based revenues, in addition to creating employment and generating tax receipts."
To make sure the UK doesn't miss the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and consolidation in the IT sector, the report says, cooperation between the government, finance houses, academics and industry will be key.
Better communication between financiers and technologists would be particularly important to the future success of the tech sector in the UK, the report says. It urges venture capitalists to overcome the mistrust they feel towards technology, post dot-com crash, and says tech start-ups need to get better at presenting the business case for investing in their ideas. ®