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By | Paul Kunert 14th March 2012 09:48

HP UK veep tells gov: Soothe economic woes with IT balm

Swallow tech spending pill and call me in the morning

HP UK boss Nick Wilson told resellers at its Gold Partner 2012 event yesterday that he'd given the government his prescription for curing the ailing UK economy: spend more on tech.

The bigwig said he'd met with economic analysts and nine Cabinet ministers in the past couple of months and the consensus was that the economy will not get "much better until after the summer", he told 300 attendees at the event.

"Myself and a number of other CEOs of IT companies in the UK have been hounding the government a lot around using technology to enable the business recovery," he said.

"The top countries with GDP growth also have corresponding growth and investment in ICT. If you go to our schools some of the kids only get access to a 10-year-old IT suite maybe once a week. Every child at school should have some form of tablet or laptop to [help] their education."

Wilson said that IT was not one of biz secretary Vince Cable's "six vertical industries leading the economic revival" and that tech skills are in massively short supply, with just 3.9 per cent of graduates applying to sit a techie course at uni.

The vendor launched the HP Institute a couple of weeks ago with the aim of improving the IT skills of 20,000 individuals over the coming years. It is launching grad training courses and Wilson urged resellers to employ those bods.

"A lot of you tell me it's quite hard to get hold of the right skills to grow our business at the moment and that is a big contribution from us in terms of trying go get you 20,000 folk over the next three years with relevant skills that you can employ to grow your business."

Wilson said there are big changes happening in the IT sector, with companies wanting to procure tech as a service, BYOD services, big data and analytics, and said that "green computing" and social media were coming to the fore.

"We have a big part to play as an industry to pull all this together," Wilson said.

The government claims it wants to funnel more spending towards SMEs: 25 per cent of its entire procurement budget by 2015.

"[We] committed to take our IT SME [suppliers] from 600 to 750 and committed that external spend with them will rise by 50 per cent over the next 18 months to try and help the economy grow," said Wilson.

He said HP was working to improve "transparency" in government procurement with David Smith, Crown Representative of the Cabinet Office. He added that Smith had attended HP management meetings to discuss the p&l, the pipeline, delivery issues and the services for which HP planned to bid.

"We are not on the naughty step with the government. We have tried very hard to support all of their initiatives – you saw us sign up to the youth employment contract, the work experience thing," he said. ®

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