Many Small Businesses Still Lack Digital Skills

Mar 26, 2015

Although more SMEs in the UK are beginning to see the benefits of being digitally enabled, there are still around 1.2 million that lack basic digital skills.

This is according to Lloyds Bank’s second annual UK Business Digital Index in association with digital skills charity Go ON UK and technology services firm Accenture.

According to the bank, the report is the only of its kind in the UK – it tracks the level of digital adoption by smaller businesses and charities, such as running a website, using e-commerce, maintaining a social media presence or using online banking tools.

The report claims that those that have not adopted basic digital skills such as those needed to enjoy a wide range of online benefits are missing out on potential revenue and customer interaction.

In the first year of comparison for the Index, it has been identified that although slow, there has been positive progress in digital adoption across all organisations participating in the study.

However, the research also claims that many SMEs and charities still have a “digital blind-spot” and do not understand the benefits of digital technology, potentially jeopardising success.

A quarter of those surveyed said that digital is “irrelevant” to them.

Number Of Digitally Skilled Charities Falling

While more businesses are starting to adopt digital, the Index claims that the number of charities taking the same route has actually fallen.

A year ago, 45% of charities were found to have basic digital skills, but this is just 42% this year, a decrease of around 6000 charities.

This is in contrast to SMEs with basic digital skills where an increase of 75% to 77% has been seen over the past year, an increase of over 100,000 in a UK population of 5.2 million smaller businesses.

Most charities reported that they are investing no money at all into developing digital skills and those at the lowest end of the spectrum expressed doubt on how websites or social media could help increase their funding.

“The UK Digital Business Index provides a crucial measure of how UK small businesses and charities are adopting digital technology and we are extremely proud to be able to offer this insight and establish a strong link between digital skills and organisational success,” claimed Lloyds Banking Group group director for digital Miguel-Angel Rodriguez-Sola.

“In just one year it is pleased to see that over 100,000 more small businesses in the UK now have basic digital skills.

“What is also clear that real challenges remain – over a million small businesses and charities still lack basic digital skills and the perceived benefits of being digital remain.

“We cannot emphasise enough the benefits that digital adoption can offer, such as saving time, increasing revenue or funding or reaching wider audiences. Digital is the key to unlock these benefits,” he added.


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