With the start of both a new year and a new decade, David Brandon, co-founder and chief technology officer at cloud-based rota planning software provider, RotaCloud, gives us his predictions for York businesses, and the local tech scene.

"2019 was a great year for RotaCloud. We doubled the business in both customer and staff numbers, and we aim to do the same again in 2020. Growth is a key area for us, and for many other businesses in the region. And despite last month’s Business Barometer report from Lloyds Bank highlighting a fall in business confidence in Yorkshire and the Humber, this isn’t something we’re seeing.

The tech scene is growing fast in York, and while the report goes on to say that some businesses in the region are likely to decrease staffing levels, we’ve found the opposite to be true. Rather, one of the key challenges of the coming year, and for tech businesses especially, is recruitment, and the retaining of highly-skilled graduates from the universities and colleges - and not losing our local talent to bigger cities like Leeds and Manchester.

We’ve struggled this year to find candidates to fill both technical and non-technical roles, and we all need to shout louder about the amazing opportunities that York provides long term, for young people.

Having a green and ethical business model will also continue to be an important part of doing business in 2020, and beyond. Candidates are increasingly looking at more than just their day-to-day tasks when considering where they want to work, and to attract new talent, and retain existing staff, employers need to focus on more than just the financials.

We’ve spent a lot of time this year at RotaCloud really concreting our mission statement and values, and we know that a big part of the reason that we’ve been able to buck some of the regional downturn in growth is that, not only do we have a product that genuinely makes people’s working lives a bit easier, but the way we run the business and how we treat people, both customers and staff, is based on the right principles.

We’ve implemented extensive green and environmental policies, wellness programmes, paternity policies, a charity and social responsibility charter, a flatter, less hierarchical organisational structure - all of which combine to make RotaCloud a fundamentally ‘good’ place to work. Working with, and for, a business that behaves conscientiously, is something that, quite rightly, people are becoming more and more likely to expect as standard.

In terms of key technology trends, the ‘tech behind the tech’ will continue to evolve, and even start to seep into less ‘tech-focused’ businesses. York is third nationally when it comes to levels of access to full-fibre broadband, and faster and more reliable internet mean that York is an extremely attractive prospect for new businesses and, with the city-wide free wifi, visitors alike.

Quicker and more reliable internet means that it’s easier than ever to utilise more complex cloud-based applications and business tools. For example, services like Stadia, which is a cloud-based gaming platform where all processing is done in the cloud and the results streamed directly to a users desktop, completely eliminate the need for expensive, powerful desktop computers. In addition, better infrastructure and more capable hardware opens the door to more ‘disrupter’ services like Monzo and Revolut. And in our industry especially, I think we’ll see a bigger uptake of cross-platform frameworks, such as Flutter, in an effort to streamline development.

All in all, 2020 is looking bright for York, and here at RotaCloud we’re excited to see what challenges and opportunities the new decade will bring."