A successful digital economy needs a thriving base of digital startups, but more importantly it needs established companies to become more digital. Research by the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) shows that poor technology adoption by businesses is at the heart of the UK’s productivity gap.
This isn’t about firms being leading-edge adopters of new technologies such as artificial intelligence or internet of things, it’s about investing more in well-proven, established technologies such as mobile, cloud and e-procurement.
Shockingly, the CBI’s report said that UK take-up of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) – two of the most basic, fundamental software building blocks for any modern organisation – is lower than it was in Denmark in 2009.
At the recent CBI conference, prime minister Theresa May challenged UK businesses to “embrace technological change”. In response, CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said government has a responsibility to “create the right backdrop for firms to invest”. Both are correct.
Outside of a relatively small number of innovative UK companies, there is an enduring technophobia that holds back British business and our digital economy. CEOs might have come to love their iPhones, but they are still reluctant to invest in the systems and skills needed to make their companies into digital exemplars. And post-Brexit, we really will need to be a country of digital exemplars.
The UK tax regime is still biased towards investment in goods and machinery – the heartland of a 20th century manufacturing base. There are fewer incentives to encourage spend on software and IT skills – the core of a 21st century digital world.
It will be great for Britain to be a global leader in tech startups. It will be even better for our global competitiveness if we can incentivise all businesses to become leaders in technology adoption.
What do you think about the Kenyan Digital economy is vision 2030 enough or what do you think the Kenyan techies needs to do?