A recent Zoho Digital Health Study* has revealed that almost two in five (39 per cent) UK businesses surveyed have cited high inflation as a top concern beyond their control, as they attempt to recover from recent turbulence including rising costs, rampant inflation, disrupted supply chains and the great resignation.
More positively, over half (55 per cent) of respondents said they believe the UK is past the worst in terms of macro-economic factors that may impact businesses. However, as inflation currently sits at4.6 per cent, 2.4 per cent higher than the government’s 2 per cent target, almost half (45 per cent) of UK businesses responding are still concerned by the economic outlook.
Feeling the impact of inflation, 68 per cent of UK businesses surveyed have limited technology investment this year due to the Bank of England’s rising interest rates. Despite this, businesses surveyed still plan to direct investment into priority areas such as customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data privacy.
As businesses rebuild, many are rethinking their priorities. While budgets are tight, businesses are still seeing the benefits of investing in technology that will provide a good return on investment. For example, 67 per cent of respondents said they are either using AI or are planning to invest heavily in it.
As technology investment and adoption continue to be a core business focus, it is no surprise that 30 percent of respondents cited data privacy and protection as a top business priority, to ensure that technology is being used safely.
Sachin Agrawal, Managing Director, Zoho UK commented: “Business confidence has taken a beating over the past few years, so it is no surprise that many are still concerned about the stability of the UK economy. Quite rightly many are looking to future proof their businesses against the economic permacrisis which continues to create turbulence. It is interesting to see priorities shifting around technology and data privacy as businesses focus on becoming more resilient. Companies that invest in the right technology will enjoy a strong return on investment while those who ignore the importance of digital transformations will risk becoming stagnant.”
“A data-driven business can use real-time and extensive insights to make the right decisions to take advantage of opportunities and to reduce risk. However, for technology such as AI to be adopted successfully, businesses need to adopt it with customer trust in mind to deliver benefits such as automation, forecasting or improved customer service, to name just a few examples.
The use of the right digital toolkit, along with the right leadership style, culture and focus on customers and employees, can enable a company to increase flexibility, agility and adaptability - all required to drive business resilience and innovation.
As just 19 per cent of UK companies were found to have good digital health, it should come as a wake-up call to consider the huge impact digitisation can have on business performance.
In an increasingly tough market, with increased competition, increased customer and employee demand and a myriad of negative external market-forces driving economic stagnation, digitisation must be a focus. The risks are too high to ignore.
As the UK strives to become a tech superpower, 57 per cent of firms agree that the British government should provide more funding to businesses in order to develop innovative technologies, highlighting a call for increased business support.
The news comes following the latest economic update from the Office for National Statistics, highlighting that the economy shrunk by 0.3 per cent in October.
Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.