Lloyd’s Bank Digital Index has recently revealed that around 1.6 million businesses in Britain are in the ‘digital slow lane’. Twice as many organisations are developing digital skills now than when the index started in 2014, but despite this, 41% of businesses in the UK are still not digitally savvy and lack basic digital skills.
Small businesses with high digital capability are 250% more likely to have an increased turnover compared to those who are not digitally evolved. These savvy organisations are also five times more likely to save costs than their digitally incompetent counterparts with a big part of this coming from increased productivity.
It’s not just small businesses that are benefiting either. Highly digitised charities are more likely to receive donations than non-digitised charities with social media being a key driving force.
Worryingly, there is an increased disparity between the ‘digitally savvy’ and the ‘digitally unsavvy’ organisations, with an all or nothing trend appearing. Further to this, there are around 118,000 organisations in the UK that are not using the internet at all!
The Digital Index isn’t just about cybersecurity. It’s about how many businesses have a digital skillset. A full digital skillset is when an organisation can demonstrate one skill in each of the following areas: Managing Information, Communicating, Transacting, Creating, and Problem Solving. Problem Solving is the most lacking area and includes skills like utilising technology such as video conferencing to reduce costs and increase efficiency, and using analytics to improve website performance. Interestingly, 39% of all organisations without a full digital skillset can demonstrate 4 out of 5 skills. This means that there’s 630,000 SMEs on the cusp of achieving a full basic digital skillset.
It’s worthwhile noting that focus on information management and data captured from financial transactions will become more prevalent in the next 6 months with the onset of GDPR.
The report goes on to look at the barriers; those things that are stopping SMEs from achieving their digital skillset. Motivation and time have been consistent barriers since the index started in 2014. A lack of staff with digital or online skills is another prominent concern for organisations. Other barriers include a lack of interest in going online, thinking it’s not worth the investment, and considering being online irrelevant for their business. SMEs with a mindset barrier are also the businesses with the lowest digital capabilities.
An important part of reducing the digital skills gap is letting people know that being online can be secure and is worth the time and investment. With a digital infrastructure, the appropriate security measures and support along the way, you can continue to reap the benefits of digitalisation for years to come.