Digital maturity benefitting UK SMBs, study reveals

Friday 16 November 2012

Using the internet is helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in a number of ways, it has been suggested.

Lloyds Banking Group found that companies with an active online presence report a number of benefits.

Some 78 per cent say they save time due to automation and electronic communication, while 62 per cent claim to attract new customers through effective marketing.

Another 54 per cent report improved levels of customer interaction and service, and wider geographic coverage, while 54 per cent claim to have witnessed cost savings.

Some 51 per cent say greater digital maturity has helped them to increase sales, while 36 per cent have enjoyed simplified payment processing.

David Oldfield, managing director of SME and mid markets banking at Lloyds, said it is vitally important to improve online skills.

"We are doing everything we can improve the digital capabilities of our own workforce, our customers and the communities that we serve," he stated.

"Providing people with the right digital skills and confidence to use the technology will empower them to develop their businesses."

It will also provide SMBs with a crucial competitive edge, Mr Oldfield claimed.

Martha Lane Fox, chair of Go ON UK, said it is "critical" that SMBs embrace the internet.

They need to develop online skills and general digital capability in order to ensure their future in a competitive market both here and abroad, she argued.

Posted by Alex Boardman