Sector trends

Strategy insights from some of the UK’s top tech CEOs

As proud sponsors of Megabuyte’s 2023 CEO Strategy event, here’s what we took away from two days of discussions with UK tech leaders.

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We’re in chapter two of the cloud era

Ian Spence, founder and chairman of Megabuyte, says the technology sector has experienced a series of shifts over recent decades. Since the advent of the first mainframes, which revolutionised business in the 1950s and 1960s, through to servers and PCs, and now cloud and digitalisation, technology has helped shape and transform the way we live and work. 


Chapter one of the latest technological shift has been driven by the desire to digitalise business models. Mobile and cloud computing have been the key technologies behind the data-driven economy, with businesses across all sectors asking tech firms to support them with cloud-based platforms, infrastructure, and services.


Ian expects chapter one business to continue for another decade but with some tech companies still catching up with legacy technology offerings that are already starting to see a decrease in value. However, we’re also moving rapidly into the second stage of digitalisation, or chapter two. Those firms that have already digitalised their business model and moved on to the cloud are now looking at how to leverage it to meet their ambitions.

Insight: Businesses investing now in new chapter two technologies to develop product solutions for themselves and their customers could deliver more benefits in the future. 

For future success and value, consider a strategy to realise the benefits of moving to a more robust cloud environment. Or how to utilise Artificial Intelligence, automation and data science for improved systems, processes, new customer experiences and productive ways of working.

The practical application of AI and automation

One solution presented by UK tech firm Quantexa showed how connecting data in a more meaningful way could drive more intelligent decisions, increased productivity and transparency.


Take Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines as an example. KYC requires financial and professional services firms to verify the identity, suitability, and risks involved with maintaining a business relationship. It can be a complex requirement, especially for organisations with legacy systems and lots of siloed data.


There are technologies that can help organisations connect internal and external data sets to provide a single view of customers, taking away the complex and time-consuming task of onboarding with context and transparency at scale. 

Insight: If you’re looking to optimise your product strategy process with clients, get clear guidance on the problem you are looking to solve. And the outputs the client wants to see. 

Looking at practical applications of chapter two technology for the future, clients may need to go backwards before they can go forwards. Check the client’s data and technology stack are in the right place and optimised for the cloud. 


Listen to your customers, focus on their challenges and use your technology strategy to come up with solutions. Customers could then buy in to your purpose and culture.

Finding and funding growth

Discussing ways to avoid mergers and acquisitions ‘clangers’, tech CEOs shared their own lessons on fuelling growth through M&A. They described buy-and-build strategies where culture is the most important factor when buying a business and looking to integrate. 


At the other end of the journey, if you’re considering how to optimise your exit, we heard one CEO say: focus on building a great business and they will come. If you’re able to demonstrate the execution of your strategy on that journey, and your data is up to scratch, it could help when you’re selling and get you the best value when you exit.

Insight: We heard CEOs talk about ‘doing no harm’. Consider a strategy that allows the company to operate as it is for the first year and integrating in a thoughtful and unhurried way. There are no prizes for doing it quickly. A successful merger doesn’t break what it finds valuable at purchase.

Delivering business benefit from Diversity & Inclusion

We took away some practical insights from this panel session about how Diversity & Inclusion policies can deliver business benefits. As one panellist pointed out, technology can be complex, and it can help to solve complex issues. But you can’t solve complex issues if everyone’s the same.


Technology businesses are fundamentally people businesses. Having a diverse people strategy is key to delivering growth, attracting talent and unblocking bottlenecks.


One CEO spoke about how he is recruiting neurodivergent individuals, for example, who apply their skills and perspectives to the company’s cyber security work.

Insight: By continuing to recruit based solely on qualifications or education background, for example, rather than using a best practice D&I strategy, technology businesses could miss out on a powerful opportunity to drive growth.

What is great leadership and why does it matter? A case study

The CEO of technology consultancy BJSS shared what he has learned about leadership in the last couple of decades. He highlighted three things:


Communicate your culture: as a small and growing business, leaders may not always consider their culture and what it is. When you get to 100+ people, you may not know everyone’s names – then it’s time as a CEO to pause and really think about your culture and write it down. 


Talk to your clients: what do they say about you? what do they value about working with you? Codify that into your culture, that’s your secret sauce. When people join, they can learn and understand your purpose.


Don’t neglect your culture: if he could offer a piece of advice to his 25-year-old self it would be, continue to do what you do best, don’t neglect the culture you’ve built. And make tough decisions quickly.

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