SME News September 2017

SME NEWS / September 2017 23 Research Shows Poor Preparation for Digital Age Among UK SMEs g we all use as consumers and the antiquated by comparison technology we’re forced to use in the workplace. For businesses, now is the time to catch up and separate the passing fad from the technology that will deliver tangible impact for years to come. Not only is this vital to remain competitive, but ultimately it is critical to survival.” As part of the Workforces 2025 Report, YouGov also examined the technology priorities of British business over the next 10 years. The research finds that most firms are preoccupied on fixing their basic IT infrastructure, rather than prioritising investment in strategic new technology areas. The top technology priority over the next 10 years, selected by 55% of businesses, is ensuring an adequate internet connection. By contrast just 18% of businesses stated that investment in machine learning and artificial intelligence is a priority. Falling to just 6% for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, that make up the bulk of the UK economy. Less than a third (31%) of businesses surveyed stated that ensuring they make the best use of ‘Big Data’ is a priority in the next decade. In conclusion, Kristine Olson- Chapman, Managing Director at TalkTalk Business, provides her insight into the findings. “Revolutions tend to come with little warning, but businesses have no excuse to be in the dark about the potentially transformative changes to the nature of work on the horizon. How to prepare business for the impact of machine-learning and automation, and attract and retain a workforce with rapidly shifting expectations of what ‘work’ means, needs to be a top strategic priority. For UK business leaders, there is an increasingly critical need to align with the right partners who will help them innovate on their terms and take full advantage of the coming fourth Industrial Revolution.”