Three out of four UK SMEs failing to embrace digital workplace

Three out of four UK SMEs failing to embrace digital tech innovationsIT analyst Gartner has forecasted that by 2022 cloud will make up almost a third of IT spending, but only a quarter of SMEs are properly prepared for it, claims a new study. The Missed Middle study, commissioned by Crown Workspace, found that three quarters of UK SMEs are failing to embrace workplace technologies such as cloud, mobile working and digital devices. This could impact their business agility, security and financial efficiency. Cost is the most common barrier preventing SMEs from creating the optimum workspace that features modern technology. For instance voice technology has seen huge adoption over the past few years, however less than one in five respondents are ready for it in the workplace. Equally, despite the ubiquity of mobile devices, only a quarter feel very prepared as a business to enable proper mobile working and digital devices. However, some new technologies such as Li-Fi (cellular wireless networking using light) and automated heating and lighting are creeping onto the SME agenda.

Over two thirds of SME owners who took part in the research admit their current workplace, including its lack of technological innovation, is limiting engagement with employees and their ability to retain the best talent.

The good news is most feel that their connectivity is up to the mark, as only one in five said that they need better broadband speed and Wi-Fi to support expansion. However, technology seems to take a back seat when it comes to growth strategies, with more SMEs worrying about having better storage facilities as they grow.

Simon Gammell, director at Crown Workspace, says: “Modern technology has created a new set of rules for the workplace. Tech such as WiFi, 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.”

Hugh Prissick, project manager and owner of Storey, says: “Landlords are conscious that occupiers need faster broadband speeds and greater access to strong wireless connections, amongst other technological advances. Future proofing buildings is difficult but landlords and developers are placing technology at the heart of the design of new buildings.”