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UK SMBs Growth Held Back By Lack Of Access To Technology

14 March 2024

Almost two-thirds (63%) of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) think a lack of technology investment restricts the wider growth of UK business as a whole, according to new data from UK technology company ANS. 

With many SMBs currently under pressure amid a technical recession and global socioeconomic factors, their struggles are only compounded by the many barriers blocking their access to the best tech. Merely 12% of SMBs currently have access to the best tech, and 43% reported that not having access to the best technology is limiting their business growth. 

Almost a quarter (24%) of the SMBs surveyed reported not having the right technology to meet business goals as a concern, while 30% cited being left behind by competitors. As big corporate competitors continue to make great strides technologically, SMBs must catch up quickly to ensure this gulf doesn’t widen.

In a survey of 255 small to medium businesses (SMBs) with up to 250 employees, leading digital transformation company ANS in partnership with YouGov paints a picture of the barriers holding back UK SMBs from accessing the best tech.

Richard Thompson, CEO of ANS, commented on the report’s findings: “Start-ups and SMBs are currently navigating a difficult economic backdrop, but embracing digital transformation can give businesses in any sector a competitive edge.

“Our first Business Blockers report highlights an undeniable link between technology access and growth. But when it comes to tech, it seems that so many SMBs are still in the dark about where and how to invest, or even where to begin.

“For every business, regardless of its size or how long it’s been established, tech can be accessible, cost-effective and easy to manage long-term. And for SMBs in particular, the latest developments in low code, cloud and AI are geared to streamline business operations. All should aspire to access this technology and make the most of it, and it’s closer in reach than they may think.”

The report is a temperature check on UK SMBs, highlighting prevalent concerns such as experiencing a cyber attack and being able to find the right staff, with a widespread lack of tech training and upskilling making it even harder to recruit in this area.

It also explores the views of enterprises towards technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI), low code and cloud migration, all examples of cutting-edge tech that is perfectly positioned to transform how SMBs operate.

In a drive to make technology accessible to all SMBs, the ANS Ambition Fund was launched in 2022 to help businesses deliver on their digital ambitions and drive their business forward amid turbulent economic conditions.

 The £2million fund for cloud and migration helped to cut costs of tech transformation projects including Public Cloud platforms and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.