Lack of tech stifling growth for UK SMEs

The failures of UK-based SMEs to incorporate new workplace technologies into their companies may be damaging their growth, productivity and employee engagement. According to recent research, as many as three quarters of these types of businesses are being set back by their slow uptake of tech such as cloud usage, mobile working and BYOD. The research surveyed 500 SME owners and 150 employees from across the UK.

Recently, IT analyst Gartner estimated that by 2022 cloud would make up almost a third of all IT spending; however, the recent study by Crown Workplace, titled ‘The Missed Middle’, suggests that only a quarter of SMEs are prepared for this. Consequently, SMEs business agility, security and financial efficiency could be affected negatively.

Voice technology is one aspect that has increased in the past few years, however only one in five of the respondents to this study felt prepared for its adoption. Furthermore, only a quarter of participants feel ready to adapt to mobile working systems and personal devices in the workplace. However, some newer technologies such as Li-Fi and automated heating and lighting are being slowly adopted by SMEs in this country.

Positive news from the study is that the majority of respondents feel their connectivity is where it needs to be, as Wi-Fi and broadband speed was not recorded as an issue by many. But for most businesses, new technology usage seems to be less important than ensuring storage facilities when thinking about strategies for growth. Another consideration is that two thirds of SME owners admit that their current working environment limits engagement with employees and the ability to retain top talent. Cost is obviously the main issue for SMEs wanting to modernise their offices with the most up-to-date technology.

Simon Gammell, director at Crown Workspace, said: “Modern technology has created a new set of rules for the workplace. Tech such as Wi-Fi, remote storage and mobile are what employees expect, and that’s what SME owners should consider first when designing a workspace to ensure that their people can work and communicate effectively. Design factors such as layout, equipment and furniture are also massively important too but should not come at the detriment of technology.”