Despite evidence that digital capabilities can boost revenues and reduce costs, fewer than 20 per cent of UK businesses use software to share information across their organisation. That’s compared to 40 per cent in France and more than 55 per cent in Germany.
An ambitious digital strategy that aims to create “the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business” has been launched by the Government in a bid to transform productivity. So, what does it mean for the small and medium sized enterprises that it aims to support?
Free digital skills training opportunities
If the digital sector is going to reach the ambitious target of contributing £200 billion to the economy by 2025 then skills training is essential. More than £4million has been pledged by the Government to create free training opportunities in an effort to close the digital skills gap. SMEs are expected to benefit from access to potential recruits with relevant digital skills in their area.
Five international tech hubs will be created to help forge partnerships between UK companies and local businesses. It’s hoped that this will help SMEs exploit global opportunities.
More than 80 per cent of SMEs now have access to superfast broadband and the Government have set a target of 2020 to have completed the roll-out of 4G and superfast broadband. This is in addition to over £1billion in next-generation digital infrastructure meaning many more SMEs should access speeds of more than 100Mbps. A recent study found that nearly one in five companies questioned by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said they suffer from unreliable broadband making these improvements a necessity for SMEs.
Boosting tech industries
Analysis by Tech Nation in 2016 also highlighted that Digital Tech Industries are creating employment opportunities and accounting for 1.56 million jobs across the UK. The ambition is that the sector will contribute £200 billion to the economy by 2025. The Fintech sector alone was worth more than £6.6billion in 2015. With Fintech playing an increasingly large role in helping SMEs to find, secure and manage their finances then investment in this area should have a ripple effect that benefits all enterprises.