The UK is currently leading the way for e-commerce and is 5th place for the availability of technology worldwide. However, according to the CBI, the UK’s most effective and influential business organisation representing 190,000 private sector businesses, the UK is ranked only 14th in the world for company-level adoption of digital technology.
A growing digital divide is opening up across the British economy, with just over half (55%) of “pioneer” firms adopting digital technologies and processes, while too many (45%) are falling behind which is threatening UK competitiveness. The CBI found that businesses were held back by a lack of appropriate skills and an unclear return on investment.
Nearly all firms believe that digital technology has the ability to revolutionise the business landscape, driving productivity (94%), growth and job creation, and almost three quarters (73%) see improved customer satisfaction and experience as its biggest benefit. Companies highlight a mix of connectivity challenges and security concerns as barriers to digital adoption.
It is vital that businesses in all sectors – from manufacturing to retail – truly understand digital technology’s potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor. Long-term digital strategies are critical to the futures of UK businesses. Board rooms should draw on the expertise of the new generation of ‘digital natives’ and companies should now be looking to make prominent digital or technology appointments at senior and board room level.