19 November 2016

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The dilemmas of disruption

Most British businesses are grappling with how to turn our world of change into an auspicious moment of future opportunity. The host of speakers at today’s annual CBI Conference, themed around ‘Innovation, Growth and Prosperity in a World of Disruption’, will undoubtedly explore how this climate can be harnessed to enhance business growth and shared prosperity across the UK. 

The dilemmas of disruption

With our focus on getting closer to our customers and understanding their challenges and pain points, we wanted to take part in the debate with some informed insights. So it is with great excitement to be able to announce Advanced’s inaugural Trends Report, revealing the results of an extensive and in-depth survey with over 1,000 professionals operating in the UK business community. We’d encourage you to read the full report alongside two associated news releases.

However, we can’t resist highlighting a few of the headline grabbing findings here, which will hopefully inspire you to read the full report.

In summary, the survey tackled issues associated with the state of readiness amongst British businesses in the face of serious digital disruptions. Some of the results were rather concerning.

For example, it threw up the issue of the threat of cyber security.

  • One in four business are not prepared for the threat of a cyber attack
  • Nearly half (46 percent) claim that data security is not a deciding factor when adopting digital technology

As exciting as embracing digital innovation as an opportunity is, surely it is married to the associated responsibility to prioritise protection against a cyber-security breach? We’d argue that to embrace disruptive innovation, organisations need to create a connected business which is underpinned by a connected, and fundamentally secure, infrastructure. We know it is not easy; some of our own customers provided invaluable qualitative feedback on the report findings (also included in the report), revealing the extent and diversity of the problem. Although some may simply under-value the clear and present danger of this threat, others argued a lack of skilled resource held back progress, as well as budget challenges – should you prioritise the threat of cyber-security over the needed and valued provision of everyday services to patients, for example?

The stark truth is that a shocking 26 percent lay vulnerable to a problem which can paralyse business, cause revenue loss in the millions as well as irreparable reputational brand damage, resulting in loss of trust and loyalty.

The potential ramifications for British business, and the economy are significant. Only by making the right investments and ensuring cyber-security is a board level priority, will British business be able to make the UK a global beacon for digital and technological skills.

It indicates businesses could be ill-equipped for the turbulence being experienced now and ahead, arguably distracted by issues not within their control, such as Brexit.

There were also indications of a lack of workforce readiness and that Britain is failing to unlock the digital potential of its workforce. With productivity challenges remaining at the heart of British businesses, it is such a missed opportunity not to address. Businesses need workforces that are agile, innovative and engaged; employees want to work with a purpose and with value. Ensuring digital technologies are deployed effectively could be a silver bullet to unlock business potential by building the right skills for the future and harnessing the passion of every single employee.

It’s not surprising to find out that businesses are wrestling with the level of change. Digital disruption is becoming increasingly complex and pervasive but the message is clear. Business leaders need to up their digital game. Although 87 percent may agree that an ability to reimagine their business is vital, if it isn’t combined with a strong focus on cyber-security, they will be left vulnerable to real threats and struggle to survive, let alone grow and prosper.

So ask yourself a simple question: how confident are you that you have secure foundations in place to reimagine your business? Because without them, your digital innovation journey could be full of speed bumps and red lights. Download our Trend Report to check out the findings in more detail.

We’d love to know your thoughts and hear about the challenges you’re facing, so please do get in touch with me. We’ll also report back on our learnings from the CBI Conference, so watch this space.

Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced