One in ten businesses are concerned about technology risks in 2021.
If the Coronavirus Pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that uninterrupted communication is paramount for businesses working remotely. And those who don’t utilise new technology will undoubtedly get left behind.
It’s no surprise then that 13 percent of companies we spoke to said that keeping up with technology is a primary concern for 2021. These fears span the inevitable move to a cashless society, post-Brexit data regulations, cybersecurity, and a lack of in-house technical knowledge.
Industries most concerned for the new data regulations regarding leaving the EU can be seen in the graph below.
Now the UK has entered a grace period from Brexit, there are continuing conversations about how GDRP and data regulations will change. This period involves waiting for the EU to complete its data adequacy assessment, much to many businesses’ concern.
Nearly a quarter of all companies surveyed (23%) shared reservations regarding data regulations, the most worrisome working in insurance (37%), energy, utilities, engineering, and manufacturing.
“I had to open my bookshop for click and collect due to the lockdown. If there had not been a lockdown then I would have opened my doors properly for browsing in the shop. Instead I have had move by business online to sell through my website”
Despite many businesses faltering financially during the global health crisis, a sizeable chunk of companies have embraced technology. More than a third (34%) of the information technology sector, for instance, has introduced online ‘experiences’, including webinars, live streams, and workshops. We can see that healthy proportions of other industries also actively brought in new technology (22%), introduced QR code systems (19%), and moved meetings online (16%).
But while statistics show that 18 percent of small businesses successfully moved their operations online due to the Pandemic, many feel left behind. Around a third of the creative design (32%) and performing arts (31%) businesses working throughout the Pandemic believed their lack of web skills held them back. Likewise, 16 percent of business owners stated they have no technical support, most noticeably in the healthcare and voluntary space (28%).
It’s worrying too that 17 percent of business owners stated that they would struggle in an area with poor communications.
In last year’s survey, 42 percent of business owners stated that turning into a cashless society would negatively impact their operations. It’s pleasing to see then that this figure has dropped to 19 percent. The businesses most likely to switch to cashless payments work in the creative arts, design, leisure, sport, and tourism sectors (8%). On the flip side, 28 percent of agricultural and environmental companies state that going cashless would be to their detriment — along with hospitality, events, charities, and beauty businesses.
Statistics suggest that online banking and the fear of cashless payments are inextricably linked. For instance, more than a quarter of business owners (28%) over the age of 60 said they aren’t confident using online banking. Likewise, 13 percent stated that they lacked online banking knowledge and had financial concerns for 2021.
Fifteen percent of SME owners say social media has helped their business grow and gain new customers. The beauty, wellbeing, and consulting spaces, in particular, using it to great effect.
But there are still a large proportion of businesses who say that they lack the relevant knowledge to unleash social media’s full potential. For instance, 20 percent stated that not having web creation and management skills has held them back, while 18 percent expressed disappointment in not having enough online marketing nous for 2021.
Beauty and wellbeing
Business, consulting and management