Transforming into digital has never been an easy task for businesses, but they're ready to take the challenge on and confront the obstacles that are standing in their way.
Those are the general results of a new quarterly survey by Close Brothers, entitled Business Barometer.
According to the survey, 20 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are planning to invest in technology this year, including new tools and technologies.
Besides tech investments, SMEs are also looking to invest into marketing (17 per cent), the development of new products and services (18 per cent), and skills (22 per cent). Close Brothers believe each investment will have a digital focus.
“SMEs are progressively realising that failing to invest in digital technologies could result in them being left behind by competitors or new entrants to their industries,” warned David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance. “They need to start seeing digital as an opportunity to acquire new customers, grow market share and move into new areas – but also to enable efficiencies that will reduce costs.”
But these transformations don’t come without certain challenges – data security and privacy being the biggest ones. Finding funds to fuel new investments also seems to be a burning issue, the report suggests.
“Firms need support from a broad range of organisations as they work towards incorporating digital into the day-to-day running of the business,” added Thomson. “Appropriate funding will be a crucial part of that support required to invest in new technology – from accounting software to more efficient machinery - and we believe alternative finance solutions, such as invoice finance, are key to providing a bespoke and flexible option that works in line with each individual business’s objectives.”