UK economy loses £30bn in growth through 'connectivity deficit' at large firms

Around £30 billion is being lost by the UK economy due to a "connectivity deficit" among Britain's large businesses and public sector organisations, according to research.

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Around £30 billion is being lost by the UK economy due to a "connectivity deficit" among Britain's large businesses and public sector organisations, according to research.

The study by O2 and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) questioned 1,000 middle-managers at organisations in the UK employing over 250, and found that there was a lack of connectivity and collaboration among the workforce.

While employment rates are improving, productivity in business has been declining since the onset of the recession, says the report. The average output per hour worked was nearly five percent lower in Q4 2013 when compared to pre-2007/8.

And despite many organisations endorsing the benefits of smart, connected technology, 80 percent admitted that staff still don’t have full access to key business systems, such as apps and instant messaging tools, which allow them to work effectively away from the office.

The report says UK companies and public sector organisations could significantly boost productivity by using technology to eradicate needless journeys, including reducing the annual number of trips to and from the office by 121 per employee, saving each employee up to 127 hours a year.

Organisations should also allow staff to make 178 (nine percent) of their annual working hours more productive through technology, giving them better access to the information they need wherever they are.

If every large organisation increased connectivity, over two million hours would be made more productive each year, the report says.

But a "risk averse culture" to technology is prevalent, with one in four respondents in the survey citing issues around trust, responsibility and readiness for change as barriers to adoption.

Despite this, businesses believed improved connectivity could boost sales by up to 43 percent.

Ben Dowd, O2 business director, said: "We’re entering a crucial period when it comes to growth. There’s lots of talk about the agile tech start-up, but we need to create the same level of dynamism in our large organisations if we’re to reach our full potential and compete on a global stage."

He said: "Every employer should try to understand their own connectivity deficit. Even small improvements will help businesses grow and in turn provide more jobs and increased wages."

Graham Brough, chief executive at the Centre for Economic and Business Research, said: “ICT technologies such as smartphones, mobile apps and cloud computing are starting to drive business productivity and restore the competitiveness of UK workers.

"We expect to see the economic benefits from better connectivity increase as these technologies penetrate all aspects of the work environment, whether this be working from home, whilst travelling or from remote locations.”

 
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