Connectivity – NOT!

by Julian Westaby.

It is no surprise that the resilience and quality of UK broadband and phone networks have been called into question again this week. The disruption experienced by business and domestic users acts as a resounding reminder that always-on connectivity is a must.  In addition this needs to be underpinned by a modern, robust core network reaching all communities if we are to operate effectively in the modern world.

The private sector has kicked back in reaction to David Cameron’s recent appointment of minister Lord Young as the new enterprise tsar whom has been tasked with cutting rules and regulations.

New research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has discovered that nearly three quarters of SME’s expect the government to fail when they try to implement “proposals” to slash red tape to a level that helps businesses realise their growth potential.

What are these doubts based upon you might ask? The research clearly demonstrates that there is a huge dichotomy in culture between small employers and those employed in the public sector; civil servants justify their actions through paper trails, whereas smaller employers are not subjected to the same formal scrutiny.

What impact do these issues have on our economy?

The Digital Britain Report released in June 2009 clearly states the UK’s ambition is to secure our position as one of the world’s leading digital knowledge economies. This is an admirable ambition and one that is supported by the business community. This was clearly demonstrated at the recent Glasgow Chamber of Commerce’s Think Digital conference where speakers included IBM, Google and Cisco.

Recent Forrester Research tells us that globally the biggest percentage of digital users currently sit in the Joiner or Spectator zone; they are watching from afar with the more audacious ones visiting and starting to join social marketing networks. The real brand building, credibility establishing and development of authority takes place in the Creator and Conversationalist zones. What is it that happens here? Well it’s not rocket science, perpetual creation of unique and compelling content in the form of blogs, music, video and interactive engagement with social platform. This offers us huge opportunity to claim the Creator and Conversationalist zones and utilise our digital strengths to deliver on Digital Britain’s ambition.

However, there’s an elephant in the room and it is vital that it’s tackled sooner rather than later. The bottom line is Scotland needs a robust broadband infrastructure and a confident private sector to support our growing creative industries and digital technology sectors enabling us to compete effectively on a global scale. I reckon the private sector is up for it, so come on quangoland get with the programme.