Close this search box.

Retailers must understand potential of digital technology to avoid worsening ‘digital divide’: study

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference

A “digital divide” is opening up between the 55% of businesses who have adopted digital technologies and processes, and the 45% who are falling behind, warn the CBI and IBM today. They say that businesses from retail to manufacturing must understand what digital can do for them in order to prosper.

The two have conducted research that suggests that although the UK leads the world in ecommerce, and is placed fifth for the availability of technology, it ranks only 14th for company-level adoption of digital technology. The study suggests that 42% of businesses lack appropriate skills, while 33% are unclear on the return of investment.

The CBI recommends that businesses should appoint a chief digital or technology officer, while also increasing the age and skills diversity of boards and advisers, including members of the ‘digital native’ generation.

“Businesses globally are in the throes of an extraordinary digital revolution that is transforming productivity and creating a new generation of winning companies,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI. “But in the UK too many firms are being left behind. While pioneering firms are seizing digital opportunities, nearly half are struggling – a growing digital divide that is threatening UK competitiveness.

“It’s vital that businesses in all sectors – from manufacturing to retail – truly understand digital technology’s potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor. Giving digital a human face by appointing a chief technology officer will help businesses build the long-term digital strategies that will be critical to their futures.

“And by harnessing the expertise of the generation at the heart of the digital revolution, firms will be better able to make the right investments for their digital future.”

David Stokes, chief executive of IBM UK and Ireland , said digital had swept every aspect of modern enterprise. “As one of the leading digital economies in the world we now find ourselves with the challenge of how to sustain and grow our position and this is an opportunity that we should be hugely excited to face,” he said.

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on