UK firms fear digital disruption in years ahead

Half of the UK’s business leaders are concerned that their industries will face substantial digital disruption in the next two years, new research has suggested.

Microsoft has reported that businesses are fearful for their futures, as 44% of leaders expect their business models not to exist within five years.

The report points to significant disruption across a range of sectors, although anxiety was more noted in some than others.

Two-thirds of the financial services sector – which employs 2.2 million people – said they have concerns over what digital disruption might do by 2018.

Some 46% of decision makers also added that they are unwilling to change existing practices in order to compete or expand.

Microsoft suggests that smaller firms are taking on established competitors by implementing new technology quickly, meaning larger companies need to do more to stay competitive.

Concerns across market sectors

A third of those in the finance sector fear that new market entrants will cause the most disruption, which is significantly higher than in other sectors such as manufacturing and retail.

This does mean that more firms (64%) have some sort of digital strategy in place to give them some protection though.

That compares favourably with those from the public sector who have been slower than most to adopt technological solutions.

Only 35% of those in the sector have a formal digital strategy while 26% are prepared to say that no strategy exists at all.

Should businesses fail to adopt to digital transformations in their sectors they could be left behind and may ultimately face insolvency if they are unable to compete effectively.

Other concerns relating to leadership and wider cultural change are also causing uncertainty among UK firms – just 35% of public sector workers think their leadership is digitally literate.

More than half of all businesses said they have anxiety when it comes to security and privacy too.

While those in the public sector are most concerned, the figures are high across all industries which suggests time and money needs to be invested into digital solutions.

By Phil Smith

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