New Research: British Business and the Public Sector Fear Digital Disruption by 2018

New Research: British Business and the Public Sector Fear Digital Disruption by 2018

According to new research published by Microsoft last week, almost half of all UK business leaders fear that their industry will face significant digital disruption within the next two years.

The study claims to be the most detailed evaluation undertaken on the potential impact of digital disruption on the UK.

The research, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft, consolidates the views of more than 1,000 UK business and IT leaders from large UK organisations.

Key Headline Findings

The financial services sector demonstrates the highest level of anxiety with two-thirds (65%) of respondents fearing the impact of disruption over the next two years. The biggest fear was disruption from new market entrants. The sector currently employs 2.2 million people and contributes £66bn in taxes to the UK economy.
The public sector also faces huge challenges but has been the slowest to respond. Only a third of respondents from the public sector stated that they had an agreed digital strategy in place. Fear of cultural change and lack of digital leadership were the two main barriers to change. Only 35% believed that they had a digitally literate leadership team.
With no industry or organsiation being immune from the threat of being disrupted, the shelf life of current business models is shortening. Nearly half of UK business leaders (44%) stated that their existing business models will cease to exist within the next five years.
One of the most worrying conclusions from the report is that the majority of organisations surveyed feel that they are unprepared for what is coming. Almost half (46%) stated that senior leaders in their organisations are unwilling to disrupt existing businesses to grow and compete.
Commenting on the report, Nicola Hodson, General Manager, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft UK stated:

“The dawn of the fourth industrial revolution is a massive opportunity for British businesses but many are still living in an age of innocence or inertia when they need to be innovating. Whilst this research indicates that business models are breaking, many business leaders appear unwilling to address them.”

In a Scottish context, a December 2015 report by the Federation of Small Business, arrived at a similar conclusion – that most organisations are woefully unprepared for digital transformation.