Telling the truth about SME life today

10 stats to show digital technology is creating a British business evolution

Brunel University and business product marketplace Applegate are behind the study, which looked at the way digitisation is driving the evolution of British businesses of all sizes, though discovered large companies are more advanced than SMEs.

That perhaps shouldn’t be such a surprise. Around the time of Small Business Saturday on 6 December 2014, Sage found that 75 per cent of SMEs fail to engage local customers with social media, while web firm Nominet revealed 28 per cent of Brits think local companies that don’t have websites are outdated and can’t keep up with the times.

Looking at UK businesses collectively, however, the research from Brunel and Applegate found that 98 per cent of companies now have a website and eight out of ten manage finances online.

Interestingly, the East Midlands and South West were the most digitised regions in the UK, according to the report, ahead of London despite the capital playing home to Tech City.

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Stuart Brocklehurst, CEO at Applegate Marketplace, said: In just 25 years the world wide web has transformed British business. Life without a website today is simply unimaginable and businesses big and small are embracing the ability to research, to source, to pay and to manage through digital technologies.

Engagement is universal, although our research does suggest many businesses can do still more to reap the benefits of digital technology fully. For example, whilst they research avidly online, only one in five businesses sell their products online. Also, more needs to be done to help the SME sector digitise at the same pace as big business to help them compete on an equal footing on the UK and internationally.

Here are ten stats from the study to show the status of digital business in the UK:

1. 98 per cent have a company website

2. 88 per cent make extensive use of online banking

3. 64 per cent find more than half of their suppliers online

4. 63 per cent expect digitisation to further improve customer satisfaction

5. 53 per cent provide remote access to staff

6. 52 per cent research customer requirements online

7. 46 per cent have an intranet

8. 45 per cent make more than half of their purchases online

9. 44 per cent spend more than half of their marketing budget online

10. 41 per cent have adapted their websites for tablets and smartphones

Professor Zahir Irani, dean of business, arts and social sciences at Brunel University London, added: This new index provides businesses with a means to better understand themselves, through assessing what competitive advantage they have or to help prioritise those gaps they need to close to enhance their own performance.

“We see companies being able to make strategic decisions about where and how they invest based on information taken from this survey. Policy makers have a real opportunity to use the data to direct Government funding to inform regional, cities and town digital agendas.

Image via Shutterstock.


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