UK SMBs Are Investing in Digital Transformation with Revenue Growth and New Customer Acquisition As the Key Drivers

November 10, 2016 by SAP News 0

LONDON — Two-thirds of UK SMBs are using technology to improve their business, according to an IDC custom study commissioned by SAP SE (NYSE: SAP).


Study Commissioned by SAP Finds Cloud Adoption Gaining Momentum But Many Businesses Cite Security and Cost of Ownership Concerns


The research, which looked at the views of UK SMBs and will be published in an upcoming info brief, found that most of these companies felt they could do more to exploit new technologies to take advantage of the digital economy.

The global survey, which included responses from 300 UK leaders of SMBs with up to 999 employees, found that the main reasons for investing in technology innovation were revenue growth, customer acquisition and driving operational efficiencies. Almost 50 percent identified these aspects as immediate strategic priorities for digital investment.

The study also found that cloud adoption by SMBs is gaining traction, with the majority (56 percent) of UK companies of this size now using some form of cloud-based service. However, the study identified that perceived security issues and recurring cost of ownership were slowing the move to cloud services, with 44 percent and 28 percent citing these factors respectively.

Mirroring the rise in mobile enterprise applications and demand for mobile working across the economy, over a fifth (21 percent) of SMBs are looking to improve mobile worker enablement through technology investment. The agility and flexibility benefits of digital innovation, however, ranked low on the priority list for SMBs, with only 12 percent citing this as a reason for allocating resources to technology.

Cathy Daum, senior vice president, Global Channels & General Business EMEA, SAP, said: “SMBs are the engine room of the UK economy, accounting for over 99 percent of all private companies. This study shows that technology is a huge driver in helping these companies achieve their goals. The research also reveals that they’re looking for new ways to fully benefit from other areas of digital innovation. This includes strengthening business networks, improving mobile worker enablement and helping become a more agile organization by investing in areas such as cloud-based services. SMBs who want to maintain a competitive advantage need to build these innovations into their existing technology infrastructure to take full advantage of the digital economy and compete with larger businesses.”

Commenting about the study, Ray Boggs, vice president, Small and Medium Business Research, IDC, said: “As part of our wider global study, it’s noteworthy that both small and midsize businesses in the UK lead in the implementation of new technologies to help achieve their business goals, especially when compared to other markets in EMEA. With more than two thirds investing in digital innovation, according to our research, these businesses are setting themselves up for future growth. What’s more, they’re going beyond using technology for most needs like collaboration and customer relationship management and starting to implement strategic tools like social analytics and IoT technologies. This underlines the strength of this sector and the role digital innovation is playing in supporting company success.”

Additional top line findings of the study include:

  • A majority of SMBs are already using technology tools for employee collaboration (66 percent), customer relationship management (63 percent), business analytics (51%) and e-commerce, including online order taking and billing (50 percent).
  • More than half (55 percent) of SMBs are prepared to deal with some disruption when implementing new technology solutions and would move cautiously to ensure proper operations even if it slowed the implementation process.
  • More than half (57 percent) of UK SMBs cite improved internal efficiency as the greatest benefit of digital economy investments.

The UK results of the IDC SMB Digital Transformation Survey, commissioned by SAP, were taken from a large-scale study conducted in October 2016. The study polled 3,900 SMB decision makers in 13 countries spanning a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, retail, utilities, government, health and finance. The global study identified a correlation between SMEs with revenue growth of 10 percent or more and technology innovation, finding that applying digital solutions was well under way for these high-growth companies.

The IDC custom study, commissioned by SAP, is SMB Digital Transformation IDC document IB_2090_SAP.

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

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