New research released today by Nimbus Ninety, the UK’s home for disruptive thinking, has revealed the diverse digital priorities amongst UK businesses in 2019, with larger companies focusing heavily on automation and SMEs wanting to drive customer engagement in their digital strategies this year.
The findings have been launched as part of Nimbus Ninety’s annual Digital Trends Report, which explores the challenges facing UK businesses in the year ahead and gauges the state of digital change across industries.
With technology transforming the physical world and facilitating online retail, the research has shown that the collapse of physical locations may be happening faster than we thought. Only 33% of respondents considered a physical location to be a method of customer access in 2022. It was vastly outweighed by chatbots (51%), voice (48%) and augmented reality (32%), results that hold huge ramifications for interaction with customers.
Meanwhile, digital spend is accelerating, with 70% of respondents expecting to see their digital budget increase this year, up from 67% last year and 54% the year before. Big data analytics is at the top of these spending priorities for 45% of respondents. More respondents than ever are investing in artificial intelligence as machine learning and automation are set to be the more disruptive technologies of 2019.
For large or extremely large organisations, improving operational efficiency was considered the highest digital priority for 85% of respondents. However, 85% of medium and smaller organisations saw improving customer engagement as a high priority in their digital strategy, indicating a contrast between the primary focuses of large and small businesses in the region this year.
Key results also include:
- 27% and 25% of respondents respectively ranked intuitive user experience and personalised products/services as most important to their customers; however improving personalisation was one of the lowest ranked priorities for businesses as a whole.
- Using insight from data effectively was cited as a bigger challenge than Brexit for 2019, with 45% of respondents worried about data versus only 19% for Brexit.
- While 63% of respondents agreed that their organisations were struggling to attract the right skill sets, only 20% ranked staff training as a very high priority in 2019.
Emma Taylor, founder and managing director of Nimbus Ninety said, “The UK’s digital economy is facing yet another period of change and consolidation. Perhaps the most surprising result was that data management is expected to be a larger challenge in 2019 for organisations that Brexit.
“This suggests that the digital challenges facing our members are immense; and that the rewards for good digital management are commensurately large. The good news is that the future of the UK is looking ever more digital – an exciting prospect for all decision makers in the region.”
The full report was released today at Chief Disruptor LIVE in London, an event which saw over 450 C-level executives, managing directors, CEOs and CIOs from across various sectors gather to hear from world-famous experts and discuss the big technological changes that are disrupting incumbent businesses.
The research was conducted from November 2018 with 279 decision makers to investigate the digital trends most affecting them as they lead their businesses through this period of change.