The definition for digitisation is “to transcribe (data) into a digital form so that it can be directly processed by a computer.” But in order to digitise the UK’s economy, the report written by Booz and Company takes the concept even further.
Booz and Company note that the UK is falling short of its full economic potential because not everyone is embracing digital technology. They believe that small businesses could better use the internet to market themselves, to sell their products online, and to interact with their clients.
Just consider the statistics:
• 16% of Britons are still not online (This includes 4.5 million of those in the British work force.)
• 1/3 of all Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) have a digital presence
• Only 14% of the SME’s sold their products or services online (In Norway, 30% of SME’s sell online.)
• 18 million Briton’s use social media to interact with brands
• 1% of UK small business companies sell their products via social media
The report stresses the point that larger businesses have better resources that allow them to use digital technologies, and so have better results. Booz and Company estimates that if small businesses utilized the internet to market themselves and sell their products and services online, they could boost their collective earning potential by £18.8 billion.
The report emphasises that, “Companies do not have to start from scratch to introduce information technology.” It goes on to make the point that there are off-the-shelf programs that will help any size firm to benefit from digital payment processing, online marketing campaigns, or by just understanding who their customers are and what they want, by taking advantage of advanced customer analytics in this digital age.
Companies can use the internet in many ways to grow faster, reduce costs, and improve customer service. Booz and Company feels that the UK companies can keep more jobs at home, versus outsourcing, if they can invest in the skills and knowledge they need to exploit digitisation and this ever-changing technology.