80% of UK firms fear tech rivals will kill them off

Tech giants warn of EU ‘cloud burst’No-one said running a business was easy, but it seems the rise of technology is giving most firms the heebie-jeebies, with 80% believing that they could be displaced by a new company that focuses on tech within the next 5 years.
Within this, 49% fear that an established competitor is most likely to disrupt them, with a more surprising 36% being concerned about a start-up taking custom within the next 5 years.
This is according to a new report by digital transformation business Squiz, which has exposed extreme fears among UK firms over the survival of their businesses.
Some 44% of respondents say that their business is the same, if not similar, as it was a decade ago, highlighting that they have not changed strategy or adapted to the digital world. To prevent future disruption however, it is clear that innovation is now essential in order to keep up with competitors and drive business forward in the 21st century,
The report also outlines the reasons as to why businesses in the UK could feel nervous when it comes to being displaced. The research shows that they do not currently have the required skills to innovate and keep up with the competition, with 38% saying they need more technologists in order to win over their sector. Despite being dubbed a ‘Tech Hub’, surprisingly, 44% of London-based businesses say that this is the talent that they need to acquire most.
This lack of skills means that businesses in the UK are just too slow to innovate and are failing to adopt new leading-edge technologies. For example the report found that only a quarter of UK businesses (24%) are currently using AI and VR, and almost half (46%) will not be ready to use AI for the next year. A further 44% will not be ready to work with VR for another 12 months either. Surprisingly, London is one of the regions lagging behind, with only 27% of businesses based in the capital working with VR, and only 29% working with AI technologies. As opposed to 41% of businesses in the Midlands who are already using AI, and 31% already working with VR, London is falling behind fairly significantly.
Being slow to adopt new leading edge technologies is no surprise, given that the research also reveals that many UK businesses are still struggling with the basics when it comes to technology and innovation. Over a third (36%) of UK businesses still do not have a mobile app or mobile website, with almost half of respondents (47%) saying that they do not believe that being able to contact a business via mobile is important.
Businesses in the UK acknowledge that digital transformation will be the key to success over the coming years, with almost two thirds (60%) saying that they need to innovate in order to keep up with consumer behaviour. Almost all respondents (98%) also believe that, to an extent, innovation through digital is the key to keeping up with competitors and driving business forward in the 21st century.
Stephen Morgan, co-Founder of Squiz, said: “It’s worrying to see that a staggering 44% of businesses believe they are either the same business they were 10 years ago, or similar. With the rate of digital transformation accelerating more than ever, this cannot be the case if these businesses want to survive.
“However, I am glad to see that businesses have recognised that innovation will be the key to their survival, giving them time to change their approach.
“Businesses must not lose sight of their assets: reputation, customer base, brand name, financial stability, to name a few. These assets mean that businesses will not lose their prowess overnight, however, to ensure that they continue to be powerful, senior decision makers need to take control and look at what could truly compromise their customer experience.
“Rather than fear the emergence of industry disruptors and established competitors, the opportunity lies within identifying the potential point of ‘disintermediation’ that could exist between them and your customers. Businesses are experiencing ‘do or die’, but implementing a steady approach to digitisation will mean that they can win the race just as easily as the next fastest start-up, or a bigger industry player,” Morgan concluded.

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