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Adoption of new tech is vital, yet only 20% of SMEs are “tech-savvy”

Adoption of new tech is vital, yet only 20% of SMEs are “tech-savvy”

A report has found that only one in five small businesses are open to digital transformation.

FIGURES from NatWest’s ‘Springboard to Recovery’ report illustrates that only one in five small businesses are open to digital transformation, despite it making them 2.5x more likely to experience a 20% or more increase in revenue. 

This data, which included: research from a survey of 1000 small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), analysis of more than 100 reports, as well as the results of 50 support programmes, found three clear patterns: tech improves a company’s chances of success and their productivity, it correlates with an effective managerial mindset, yet far too few describe themselves as ‘open to innovative technologies.’

  • Only 20% of all UK SMEs describe themselves as tech-savvy. 
  • Between 2015-19, firms who were open to digital transformation and adopting recent technologies were 2.5x more likely to experience a 20% or more increase in revenue versus firms who were more resistant. 
  • If SMEs use two or more technology solutions or tools, they benefit from an average of a 25% increase in productivity.
  • 42% of ‘tech-open’ SMEs reported high productivity improvement vs. 12% of ‘tech-closed’ SMEs.
  • 43% of tech-open SMEs reported high confidence in their ability to set the right business strategy, versus only 11% of firms more resistant to technological change.

Lynne Darcey Quigley, CEO and founder of Know-it commented: “Being open to modern technologies has always been a cornerstone to entrepreneurial success, and we have seen countless businesses fail to reach their growth potential if they are resistant to this change. Likewise, those who embrace new digital tools such accountancy apps, CRM systems and marketing automation with open arms, flourish. New technological solutions can catalyse a dramatic improvement of productivity, staff and customer satisfaction, and any other factor that can impact a business’s growth – and the data shows this clearly.

The pandemic has only made this more evident as digital tools like cloud computing replaced traditional touchpoints such as the shop floor or the office. Now, digital adoption is less of a buzzword – and more of an absolute necessity.

The other incredible thing about digital transformation is its ability to snowball – it picks up momentum. It becomes not only easier to introduce, adopt and embed new tech innovations in the future, but also becomes more exponentially beneficial.” 

Gordon Merrylees, previously Managing Director of Entrepreneurship at NatWest, Ulster bank & Royal Bank of Scotland, now CCO at Know-it, commented: “The pandemic has been a make-or-break moment for small businesses – and those who more readily adopt innovative technologies come out on top. Due to how vital small businesses are to the UK economy, improving SMEs’ access to this new tech and giving them the support, they need to adopt them will be crucial to future-proofing the UK economy and ensuring it recovers from the pandemic. 

Small businesses are about 50% of the UK economy’s total output and represent even more employment figures – so creating a flourishing, supportive, small business ecosystem littered with new tech innovations will benefit everyone. Due to their position in most supply chains, it will also have a knock-on, positive effect for even the most prominent conglomerates.”

This article was first published by Scottish Business News.

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