Insights from techUK’s Security and Public Safety SME Forum

Chloe O’Kane, Project Manager at Datactics, recently spoke at techUK’s Security and Public Safety SME Forum, which included a panel discussion featuring speakers from member companies of techUK’s National Security and JES programs. The forum provided an excellent opportunity to initiate conversations and planning for the future among its members.

Chloe O'Kane, Project Manager at Datactics


Read Chloe’s Q&A from the panel session, ‘Challenges and opportunities facing SMEs in the security and public safety sectors’, below:

What made you want to join the forum?

For starters, techUK is always a pleasure to work with – my colleagues and I at Datactics have several contacts at techUK that we speak with regularly and it’s clear that they care about the work they’re doing. It never feels like a courtesy call – you always come away with valuable actions to follow up on. Having had such positive experiences with techUK before, I felt encouraged to join the Security and Public Safety SME forum. Being a part of the Security and Public Safety SME Forum is exciting- you’re in a room full of like-minded people who want to make a difference. 

What are your main hopes and expectations from the forum?

I’ve previously participated in techUK events where senior stakeholders from government departments have led open and honest conversations about gaps in their knowledge. It’s refreshing to see them hold their hands up and say ‘We need help and we want to hear from SMEs’.

I think it would be great to see more of this in the Security and Public Safety SME forum, with people not being afraid to ask for help and demonstrating a desire to make a change.

What are, in your opinion, the main challenges faced by the SME community in the security and public safety sectors?

One of the challenges we face as SMEs is that we have to be deliberate about the work we do. We might see an opportunity that we know we’re a good fit for, but before we can commit, we need to think about it more than just ‘do we fit the technical criteria?’ We need to think about how it’s going to affect wider aspects of the company – Do we have sufficient staffing? Do they need security clearance? What is the delivery timeline?

If we aren’t being intentional, we risk disrupting our current way of working. We have a loyal and happy customer base and an excellent team of engineers, developers, and PMs to manage and support them, but even if a brilliant data quality deal lands on our desk, if it would take an army to deliver it, we may not be able to commit the same resources that a big consultancy firm can and, ultimately, we may have to pass on it.  

Moreover, our expertise lies specifically in data quality. As a leading DQ vendor, we excel in this area. However, if a project requires both data quality and additional data management services, we may not be the most suitable candidate, despite being the best at delivering the data quality component.

What are your top 3 areas of focus that the forum should address?

Ultimately, I think the goal of this forum should be steered by asking the question ‘How do we make people feel safe’?

A big challenge is always going to be striking the balance between tackling the issues that affect people’s safety, whilst navigating those bigger ‘headline’ stories that can have a lasting effect on the public. For instance, if you google ‘Is the UK a safe place to live?’, largely speaking the answers will say that ‘yes, the UK is a very safe place to live’. However, people’s perceptions don’t always align with that. I remember reading an article last year about how public trust in police has fallen to the lowest levels ever, so I think that would be a good place to start.  

From a member’s perspective though, more selfishly, I’d like to get the following out of the forum – 

  • Access to more SME opportunities 
  • Greater partnership opportunities 
  • More insights into procurement and access to the market 
In your opinion, why is networking and collaboration so important? Have you any success stories to share?

Our biggest success in networking and collaboration is having so many customers willing to endorse us and share our joint achievements.

We focus on understanding our customers, learning how they use our product, and listening to their likes and dislikes. This feedback shapes our roadmap and shows customers how much we value their input. This approach not only creates satisfied customers, but also turns them into advocates for our product. They mention us at conferences, in speeches, and in reference requests, and even help other customers with their data management strategies.

For us, networking is about more than just making new contacts; it’s about helping our customers connect and build relationships. Our customers’ advocacy is incredibly valuable because prospective customers like to hear success stories from them, perhaps more than salespeople.

About Datactics

Datactics specialises in data quality solutions for security and public safety. Using advanced data matching, cleansing, and validation, we help law enforcement and public safety agencies manage and analyse large datasets. This ensures critical information is accurate and accessible, improving response times, reducing errors, and protecting communities from threats.

For more information on how we support security and public safety services, visit our GovTech and Policing page, or reach out to us via our contact us page.

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