Effective communications play a fundamental role
The density of the digital world has reached a tipping point with more than a billion people on Facebook, 5.6bn mobile devices and 14 per cent of all economic activity transacted across digital resources. More importantly, the connections and communication flowing across digital technologies create opportunities of value for businesses of all sizes.
“Making Technology Work For Your Business”, a survey carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in partnership with BT, found that three-quarters of firms believed that missing calls could damage business, while 64 per cent claimed customer service had improved largely due to the internet.
In the report, BT SME MD Danny Longbottom suggested that another change fuelled by internet connectivity and technology is remote working. He said: “Our research with the BCC found that almost half of UK SMEs have staff working away from the office once a week, with 28 per cent having someone working remotely every day.”
Furthermore, 91 per cent of firms used remote working tools such as laptops to keep members of staff connected, with 88 per cent of bosses claiming such tools to be vital to the success of the company.
Some 64 per cent claimed to be using WiFi outside the office, with 68 per cent relying heavily on smartphones.
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Businesses need to embrace new technology to survive
Despite 72 per cent of the firms believing that it is important to keep up with technological advancements, every business can benefit from new technology. For example, 25,000 businesses have now used the government’s super-fast broadband scheme, which makes vouchers worth £3,000 available to SMEs.
One such technology that has increasingly gained popularity is the cloud, with 69 per cent of businesses now utilising cloud applications – ten per cent more than in 2014.
Some 68 per cent of bosses are using the cloud to send, store and receive emails, while 63 per cent are using them for file sharing, with the same percentage also using them to manage their social presence.
However, Longbottom suggested that by 2017 about 25 per cent of businesses will lose market share due to what experts describe as “digital business incompetence”. He said: “So what does all this change actually mean? It means technology now has to be a critical consideration for every business – a key foundation – irrespective of size, location or type.”
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