2020’s biggest tech trends for UK and Midlands SMEs
Kidderminster headquartered IT services provider OGL Computer has launched a new research report revealing how technology decision makers at Midlands SMEs are prioritising new technologies, digital transformation and cyber security to ensure business continuity and growth.
The State of Technology at UK SMEs report is free to download and reveals the top technology concerns and priorities for SMEs across the UK. Here we delve into the East and West Midlands stats.
The report also highlights newer technologies such as robotics and AI that SMEs plan to adopt, how SMEs are using technology to power remote workforces and what technologies they are adopting for growth.
Paul Colwell, Technical Director, OGL Computer and its cyber division CyberGuard Technologies, comments: “The inaugural State of Technology at UK SMEs report reveals that IT decision-makers at SMEs have clear strategies for the future, and understanding the opportunities and challenges that face their verticals in 2020.
“These range from the perennial, such as the ever-present threat of serious cyber-attack or data breach, to effectively managing the increasing amount of data flowing through all organisations. In addition, moving to the cloud securely and an ongoing lack of technology-savvy workers emerged as key themes.
“Handling these challenges, all with a fraction of the resources of their larger, corporate counterparts, requires flexibility and demonstrates the resilience that gives SMEs the power to succeed. As we head into a new decade where the only constant is likely to be change, it is heartening to learn through our survey that SMEs continue to adopt innovative products and services.”
Key Findings for Midlands SMEs:
Technology priorities and concerns
The survey established the technology priorities and concerns Midlands SMEs are expecting in 2020:
- The top three key technology priorities are: increasing use of AR/VR/MR 48%, invest in digital transformation solutions 46% and increasing cyber security provision 38%
- The main technology concerns for 2020 were data management 63%, and keeping pace with competitors 62% and cyber security attacks 52%
- 70% of respondents said that increasing the use of applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Teams, SharePoint etc is planned to drive business efficiencies and profitability
- 84% of Midlands SMEs are planning to spend more on cyber security and IT in 2020, compared to 92% nationally.
Cyber security trends
Cyber security features heavily in the report with respondents revealing attack frequency, cyber strategy status and employee training to combat hackers.
- The vast majority of Midlands SMEs confirmed that they were increasingly worried, with 89% more fearful of a cyber-attack or data breach
- 89% of Midlands SMEs confirmed that they had suffered a data breach or cyber-attack
- 15% of IT decision-makers surveyed in the region have no cyber strategy in place
- 82% agree that they are nervous about moving from an on-premise IT infrastructure to a cloud infrastructure due to fears of data security
- 100% of IT decision-makers in Midlands SMEs educate employees about how to identify a cyber threat, with the most popular approach a combination of external and internal training 32%.
Colin Dennis, Head of Technical Operations, OGL Computer says: “Cyber security has been front of mind for SME customers for some time now, as awareness of cyber-risks continues to rise. Proactive management of IT requirements is in many ways connected to this trend, as businesses of all sizes look to compliance requirements as well as asset protection and disaster recovery.”
Emerging technologies adoption
SMEs have long recognised the opportunities technology provides to foster growth and improve profit margins, so appetites for new and emerging technologies are strong. The top five technologies Midlands SMEs plan to adopt are:
- Blockchain 51%
- Automation 44%
- 5G 39%
- Internet of Things 38%
- Unified Communications 38%.
This contrasted to national statistics which saw 5G as the technology SMEs planned to adopt at 59%.
Cyber security threats were the main reason for the adoption of new technology 51% – ahead of enabling easier communications with customers 40%.
Paul Colwell, Technical Director, OGL Computer and its cyber division CyberGuard Technologies, comments: “Whether deploying innovative technologies to protect a business, communicate better with customers or improve productivity, our research reveals that SMEs are thinking ahead. They are ready to test new products and services and are increasing their IT and security budgets to benefit from emerging technologies that will change the way we work.”
Building a remote workforce can slash overheads, increase productivity, and improve employee efficiency, as well as boosting employee job satisfaction levels. This, in turn, can translate into better customer experience and increased profits.
- 93% of SMEs are seeing a growth in the number of remote workers
- With 44% of the Midlands respondents are currently using technology and 47% planning to adopt technology that enables remote working.
Download the full report at www.ogl.co.uk/SOTreport2020