Digital transformation momentum to continue, say majority of UK businesses

A new survey of 750 UK business leaders has revealed how the pandemic has affected long-term digital transformation plans. It found:

  • 56% of firms have successfully adopted one or more new technologies since March 2020
  • 54% say the pandemic has inspired long-term digital transformation projects
    • 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the coming 12 months
    • 53% plan to invest more heavily in digital skills training
  • Conversely, 27% of UK businesses intend to cut down on IT spend as lockdown rules relax
    • 30% of decision-makers are worried their business will revert to old practices

The pandemic has inspired long-term digital transformation projects, with UK businesses set to increase IT spending and hiring in the year ahead, new research from Studio Graphene has revealed.

The London-based digital agency commissioned an independent survey of 750 decision-makers within UK businesses. It found that the majority (54%) plan to continue digital innovation projects even once the pandemic subsides, with this number highest among companies with more than 500 employees (60%).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 56% of companies have successfully adopted one or more new technologies. Only 14% said their business’ digital transformation strategy was unaffected by Covid-19.

Almost half (45%) of businesses plan to hire new IT staff in the coming 12 months. Meanwhile, 53% plan to invest more heavily in digital skills training for existing staff.

Conversely, over a quarter of UK business leaders plan to reverse their company’s technology priorities in the coming year: 27% of respondents said their company plans to cut back the amount it spends on technology post-pandemic, with 30% worried that their organisation will revert to old ways of working – this concern was less common (21%) among decision-makers in smaller businesses (under 50 employees).

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “For most businesses, digital transformation projects were initially seen as a means of ensuring business continuity in a time of crisis. However, our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset where technology and innovation are concerned.

“Positively, many of the digital transformation journeys kicked off in 2020 look set to continue for many more months or years. Indeed, organisations large and small are clearly embracing the fact that they must continuously improve the technologies they use. And crucially, many firms are committed to investing in digital skills, either through recruitment or training. 

“It is interesting to note, however, just how many business leaders are concerned that their company will revert to old habits. To survive in a competitive, digital-first future, I encourage business leaders to capitalise on the progress made over the past 12 months – now is the time to double down and ensure digital transformation remains a key priority within their organisation.”
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