This article has been submitted by Business Wales
Businesses in Wales are ready to embrace digital technology to accelerate their growth, according to key findings from Cardiff University’s Digital Maturity Survey Report 2017.
Positive Cloud Technology Uptake
Calling on data from Ofcom’s ‘Connected Nations Report 2016’, the survey highlights that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales are taking advantage of cloud technologies. Over three quarters (79%) are using cloud-enabled software packages to save time and simplify their workloads and 70% are taking advantage of cloud storage services to improve data back-up and staff collaboration. The study also found that 62% of SMEs are using Contact (or Customer) Relationship Management software to make the most of their data to improve sales by up to 29% (Salesforce).
The Ecommerce Opportunity
There are still a wealth of online opportunities to be seized by Welsh businesses. The survey noted that less than half (46%) of Welsh businesses used online payments last year. That’s a huge market to miss out on as the United Kingdom ranked as the third largest ecommerce market in the world in 2015. There’s no signs of slowing down either, with ecommerce sales expected to grow by 7.3% in 2017 (Statista).
As a nation of entrepreneurs, Wales has a great opportunity to use this digital landscape to drive economic growth as 57% of SMEs with high e-commerce use experienced positive growth in sales per employee. Counter to this, nearly half (48%) of low e-commerce users had negative sales growth.
Technology Investment to Boost Sales
Alongside ecommerce software, wider digital technologies are providing businesses in Wales with the tools and techniques to grow their sales as the survey found that 80% of SMEs with high IT investment experienced positive sales growth, compared to 66% of the medium and 52% of the low IT investment categories. The study suggests that investing in a solid IT infrastructure early on in the journey of an SME is important to enhance commercial performance.
The Digital Maturity Survey Report 2017 demonstrates that Wales is open-minded when it comes to driving progress with digital. Businesses are taking important steps towards embracing technology and experiencing real growth as a result. However, we’re only touching the tip of the iceberg. Digital could still present a large portion of Welsh businesses with the chance to drive sales, increase profits and drive the digital footprint of Wales. It’s time to step up.
The future of Wales is one of digital connectivity and growth. So, what can you do to embrace technology in your Welsh business?
Read our 5 top tips to help your business start the journey towards achieving growth with support from accessible digital technologies.
Assess your business and goals
Could marketing automation increase your sales productivity by 14.5% and reduce marketing overheads by 12.2% (Nucleus)? Could an instant messaging app save your business the 40% of wasted time that staff spend on internal emails every week (Atos Origin)?
Start by assessing your needs, pressure points, goals and aspirations to connect the dots between your current business status and how technology can help you to achieve your growth goals.
Access online resources
The Welsh Government have invested significantly in resources to provide Welsh businesses with the support and guidance they need to drive innovation and business performance. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, information or advice, Superfast Business Wales has a wealth of online blogs, top tips and guides to help you understand the benefits of digital technology, how to implement change and how to make the most of it for your business.
Attend free digital technology events for SMEs
It’s likely that you’re going to have questions about how your business can embrace digital change to see real return on investment. There are a variety of free business events taking place locally across Wales that offer specific advice, practical tips and opportunities to ask questions about different digital technologies. Take a look at what Superfast Business Wales has to offer.
Try your hand at free technology
You are likely to have a good idea of what you’d like to implement within your business once you’ve carried out some research, read a few blogs and attended a masterclass. However, you don’t have to dive right into signing up to software. Now is the time to take advantage of free software trials or test out the ‘basic’ version of technology before you commit. This approach allows you to test the water and upgrade your system or package as your needs change and the business grows.
Use our free Software Directory
It’s easy to feel a bit lost with the countless options and versions of digital technology that are available to your business. The Superfast Business Wales Software Directory has been designed to help you understand the types of software products that are available to help your run your business. Whether you need support with Finance and Sales or Communications and Security, the Software Directory covers 11 key areas of business. Get your free directory here.