The UK may take top place internationally for ecommerce, and in the top five for technology availability, but a new joint report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and IBM reveals a growing digital divide that is hurting the country's economic growth.
Despite ranking highly in ecommerce and tech availability, the UK ranks much further down the ladder in terms of company-level adoption of digital technology, found research from the CBI and IBM. Ranked 14th in the world, many UK companies appear to be struggling to digitize business at the rate of other countries.
While 55% of pioneering companies have adopted digital technologies and processes, the remaining 45% are falling behind, found the research.
It is not a lack of conviction about the impact of digitization, indeed nearly all businesses (94%) believe digital technology will revolutionize the business landscape. Instead, businesses perceive connectivity challenges and security concerns as barriers to digital adoption. Forty-two percent also cited a lack of appropriate skills inside their business (42%) and an "unclear return on investment" (33%).
"Businesses globally are in the throes of an extraordinary digital revolution that is transforming productivity and creating a new generation of winning companies," says Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI. "But in the UK, too many firms are being left behind. While pioneering firms are seizing digital opportunities, nearly half are struggling - a growing digital divide that is threatening UK competitiveness."
The report asks that businesses consider three key recommendations. Firstly, that business appoint a Chief Digital or Technology officer to the senior executive team to drive digital strategy and execution. Secondly, that businesses increase the age and skills diversity of boards and board advisers so as to draw on the expertise of a new generation of 'digital natives'. And lastly, that businesses work more closely with each other to share ideas.
Read Article (Helen Leggatt | bizreport.com | 04/26/2016)
Business must consider both internal and external customers when going digital. This is not an endeavor to take lightly. An example of how current life is more challenging for those digitally disadvantaged is the roll-out of Obamacare in the United States. Even though the website was intended as the primary source of program information, design issues made it difficult for many people to navigate. As a result of digital literacy or slow connections just 1% of millions of people that visited the site managed to register during its first week.
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