Research reveals top tech concerns and priorities at UK SMEs for 2020

IT services provider OGL Computer has launched a new research report, The State of Technology at UK SMEs, which reveals top technology concerns and priorities for UK SMEs.

Additionally, the research also explores emerging technologies such as robotics and AI that SMEs plan to adopt, how SMEs are using technology to support growing remote workforces and the technologies they are adopting for growth.

The survey established the technology priorities and concerns SMEs are expecting in 2020:

The top three key technology priorities: increasing cyber security provision 39%, moving towards a more proactive IT strategy 39%, and increasing use of data and insights 37%

• The main technology concerns for 2020 were cyber security attacks 67%, data management 56%, and a lack of technology-savvy workers 54%
• 57% of respondents said that increasing the use of cloud computing is planned, to drive business efficiencies and profitability
• 92% of SMEs are planning to spend more on cyber security and IT in 2020

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 SMEs confirmed that they were increasingly worried, with 81% more fearful of a cyber-attack or data breach
• 81% of UK SMEs confirmed that they had suffered a data breach or cyber-attack
• Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) IT decision-makers surveyed have no cyber strategy in place
• 76% agree that they are nervous about moving from an on-premise IT infrastructure to a cloud infrastructure due to fears of data security
• 98% of IT decision-makers in SMEs educate employees about how to identify a cyber threat, with the most popular approach being a combination of external and internal training (32%)
• SMEs in the financial sector were more likely to suffer 3 or 4 breaches than any other sector at 50%, while healthcare and IT & Telecoms sectors were most likely to suffer 2 breaches at 75%.

Survey participant Rob Samuel, IT Manager, IntaPeople commented:

“One of the key considerations when developing a cyber security strategy is understanding the potential attack surface hackers have access to – we may guard our key business and financial systems, but employees are also vulnerable to social engineering. We need to ensure we are protected on multiple levels and be proactive in all areas of cyber security.”

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 SMEs plan to adopt are:

• 5G 59%
• Robotics 55%
• Automation 39%
• AI 39%
• Blockchain 37%

Ian Wright, Managing Director, SDI Displays, a participant in the research said:

“The main reasons for adopting new technologies for your business is to be as efficient as possible. As long as it is secure and provides a business efficiency then it’s worth trying. It has to be right for our business though. We will look at each technology on its own merit, to see if it benefits our business. We have no immediate intentions to change everything, but working with OGL and technology partners, we want to keep moving with the times.”

Remote working

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.

• 94% of SMEs are seeing a growth in the number of remote workers employed
• With 50% of the respondents currently using technology and 34% planning to adopt technology that enables remote working.

OGL Computer surveyed technology decision makers in SMEs with 50-500 employees across a range of industries and conducted in-depth interviews with leaders in SMEs to identify their top priorities and concerns for 2020.

Download the full report at https://www.ogl.co.uk/SOTreport2020