Time for a rethink?

June 1, 2020

As businesses look for the green shoots of recovery, Alex Craig – partner and head of Muckle LLP’s commercial team – caught up with Sunderland Software City’s Billy Webber on what the region’s tech sector can expect

Nobody expected COVID-19 or the impact it has had on business.

After an intense period of fire- fighting and protectionist action, all businesses are now considering what the future may hold, regardless of sector, and are grappling with the many unknowns in this environment.

Muckle LLP’s managing partner Jason Wainwright recently said that to manage these circumstances, it is better mentally to focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t.

Indeed, focusing on what you know can really help with decision making. All businesses in their strategic considerations will be looking at how lockdown has changed how they work and what they can or can’t do following Government restrictions and guidance.

Technology is vital

Whether you work in a business that can operate remotely, a start-up or a huge global operation, there is no disputing that technology and our adoption of it has accelerated during this period.

We are all reflecting and approaching things differently, in a world where we are unlikely to be able to congregate in quite the same way as we did pre-lockdown for some time.

Twitter has said that its staff don’t need to go back to their office. Cambridge University will be running online-only courses from September until summer 2021. Employers are recruiting, inducting and onboarding online and the consumer sector is looking to re-engage with customers safely.

The pressure on the technology industry to accommodate our new normal will only increase as will the requirement for greater security and privacy.

North East tech hub

Thankfully, the North East is already recognised as a hub for technology business with a strong tech economy growing regionally and key projects and Government initiatives operating from the area. As people re-evaluate the way they work and where they live, the North East will likely become more appealing to both businesses and workers.

I recently spoke to Billy Webber, chief operating officer at Sunderland Software City, who shared a level of optimism for technology innovation.

“Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working closely with both digital and non-digital companies alike to help relieve pressures caused by the pandemic,” says Billy.

“While challenges and uncertainty have of course reigned supreme, we are seeing areas of opportunity too.

“One clear trend we’ve seen is that companies which can support digital adoption in other sectors are witnessing an acceleration of demand for their services.

“Granted digital adoption is not the answer to every challenge faced in every sector, yet well-executed digital adoption can provide
both immediate relief in the short-term for businesses as well, as transform functionality and performance in the long-term.

Billy concludes: “As we explore new ways of working, demand for innovation is only expected to continue and will play an important role in the recovery phase for the economy as a whole. Certainly, this is where our excellent North East tech companies can shine.”

Muckle LLP

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