British Businesses are failing to unlock a workforce’s digital potential, finds new trends report

Published 21/11/2016 by Advanced, Editor

British businesses are not preparing their staff for the digital era

new report confirms that employees do not consider themselves to be empowered with the right digital tools to do their job efficiently*. This is despite an overwhelming majority (82 percent) of those without digital tools saying that this would help them spot threats and identify opportunities. Essentially, this could cost a company relevance to its customers and the ability to remain competitive. Additionally, 70 percent believe that the automation of manual tasks would free them up to do more value-add activities. The independent research was carried out by Advanced, the UK’s third largest software and services provider, to identify the state of readiness amongst British businesses in the face of serious digital disruption and cyber threats.

Advanced’s inaugural Trends Report 2016 surveyed over 1,000 professionals across the UK business community during October 2016. As well as revealing serious gaps in digital readiness generally, the survey highlighted the area of ‘workforce readiness’ as an area of concern.

*When asked if they considered themselves to be empowered with the right digital tools, on the sliding scale for respondents, the average level of enablement was just 66 out of 100.

Equally:

  • 39 percent are not confident/not very confident in their business to have an organisation wide view of its business-critical data
  • 30 percent do not have access to real-time information, although 84 percent believe that such information allows for faster, more informed decision making
  • 70 percent believe automation of manual tasks would free up time to focus on value added services.
  • 26 percent are not prepared for a cyber-attack

  • 46 percent say that data security is not a deciding factor in adopting digital technology
“British businesses are under intense pressure to adapt to the changes from digital disruption. Although the majority of businesses recognise that digital tools will help employees operate more efficiently, there seems to be a disconnect with the reality of what they can achieve. Given the productivity challenges that lay at the heart of British businesses, addressing these expectations within the workforce should be one of the critical deliverables. If businesses want to build workforces that are agile, innovative and engaged, incorporating digital technologies could be the key to unlock business potential,”

Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced

To build the capabilities to succeed in the future, the results reveal that a large proportion of businesses still need to up their digital game. This is becoming increasingly evident with the impact of millennials in the workplace. The ‘born-digital’ generation expect a level of investment in digital technology that supports and embraces the way they like to work. This ranges from bring your own device (BYOD) policies, through to an openness to engaging with new messaging and social channels for communications.

Leadership Readiness

The state of readiness amongst industry leaders came under the spotlight in the survey. Respondents were asked to rank the most important attributes of a business leader:

  • Just 45 percent chose a ‘strong digital skillset’
  • A ‘digital first vision’ lagged behind, identified by only one third

The three leading responses were:

  • 86 percent stated an ability to reimagine and adapt its business
  • 71 percent chose ‘act with pace’
  • 61 percent picked ‘take bold decisions’

Gordon concludes, “Business leaders need to up their digital game. It appears that they are failing to recognise the need to adapt their mindset and transform their leadership strategy to tackle the changes effectively in this digital era. Although an openness and ability to reimagine their business is vital, if it isn’t combined with a strong digital DNA, they will be left vulnerable to new threats and struggle to survive, let alone grow and prosper.”

The Advanced 2016 inaugural Trends Report surveyed a total of 1,006 business professionals during September and October 2016. A full report outlining all findings is available on request/to download from the Advanced website: https://www.oneadvanced.com/trends.