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Scotland’s tech sector leads the way to stability
Ian Marshall/Supplied
Business & Economy

Scotland’s tech sector leads the way to stability 

Some of the key global trends of the last 12 months – people, climate, e-commerce and banking – have in one thing in common: the increasing influence of tech.

Never has it been more important to truly look after your people, and work-life balance has returned to the top of the agenda for many.

Tech companies such as Administrate, in Edinburgh, have been committed to a four-day week for years, citing happier and more productive employees.

A tech-focused client of mine, who was very anti-working from home, is now a true convert to the hybrid model, recognising the benefits and the capabilities in this space thanks to tech.

The climate change agenda continues to move back up in terms of column inches and I think we can expect that to continue for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, COP26 will be taking place in Glasgow during the first fortnight in November this year and, secondly, Scotland provides fertile ground for building cleantech companies, as Topolytics has proven.

Shopping and banking habits have also changed. Tech has enabled many businesses to adapt business models, with online outlets accounting for a substantial percentage of revenue.

Banking-wise, we’ve all taken to mobile banking apps like ducks to water. Global mobile payments revenue was $1,400 billion in 2020, up from $1,100 billion in 2019.

So, what can we expect from the Scottish tech sector in the next 12 months?

My personal belief is that Scottish tech, with all its various subsectors such as games, cleantech and fintech, will become as important to the Scottish economy as oil and gas has been.

Helping to fuel the eco-system are the Scottish universities. There have been successful fundraises for spin-outs from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Napier and Strathclyde universities in recent times, as well as successful exits.

As Jamie Coleman from Codebase was quoted as saying: “Brainpower … has always been the core asset of Scotland. The industrial mindset of building bridges and steam engines has transitioned into building complex software. We no longer have the chimneys of the industrial revolution in our cities; our factories are in the cloud”.

There has been a sense of optimism in the air of late, and as economies start to recover, we believe that it will be tech leading the way to stability.

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