Amid the rising cost-of-trading and economic uncertainty, the majority (65%) of business leaders from medium-sized UK companies say technology is the biggest driver of growth. However, a third (33%) say tech is their biggest internal challenge, according to new research by Virgin Media O2 Business.
Virgin Media O2 Business’ research reveals the role that tech and connectivity can play in helping medium businesses (those employing between 11-249 people) to adapt and grow during tough financial times, including the current cost of living crisis. The findings show that almost 9 in 10 (87%) business leaders say they’ve noticed an improvement in productivity when they provide employees with new technology, while 77% believe it helps to boost morale.
It comes as medium businesses put in place their long-term hybrid working practices. The study finds that on average, medium business employees now spend just a quarter (25%) of their time in offices, with seven in ten businesses (70%) having more mobile connections compared to a year ago.
Catherine Amran, left, Director of Small and Medium Business (SMB) at Virgin Media O2 Business, said: “With around 250,000 medium businesses operating across the country, employing more than 7.5 million people, and turning over around £1.4 trillion a year, they are a huge contributor to the UK’s growth – which is even more important during these uncertain economic times. That’s why it’s important medium businesses aren’t left behind and can make the most of tech to enhance their productivity, performance, and prosperity.”
Virgin Media O2 Business’ report Medium businesses: Fuelling the UK’s economic engine, has found tech also brings a range of both “hard” and “soft” employee benefits – including enhanced productivity, collaboration, and morale. The report has found that more than a quarter (28%) of medium business leaders believe the biggest benefit of technology is that it improves efficiency, while almost a quarter (23%) say its main benefit is boosting collaboration amongst teams.
The barriers to achieving growth
Despite the clear benefits and the overwhelming importance placed on IT and tech as the fuel for business growth, medium business leaders admit it’s their biggest internal challenge. A third say their current IT set up impacts their bottom line, with it being a bigger barrier to success than other activities, such as their marketing capabilities.
Almost half (48%) say they need better IT support to realise their company’s ambitions, and a quarter (24%) of medium business leaders say IT security is one of the biggest internal challenges they are facing.
Catherine Amran continued: “At Virgin Media O2 Business, we know that medium-sized companies are calling out for support with a range of challenges like managing remote working or enhancing their security protocols. We’re dedicated to giving them what they need to address these challenges.
“Our Get More Fund helps to provide medium businesses with access to valuable tech to support their connectivity, productivity, and collaboration, enabling them to work smarter and thrive. If medium businesses are the UK’s economic engine, then tech can be a fuel for recovery”
Through the Get More Fund, current Virgin Media Business or O2 Business customers (11 – 249 employees) that extend their contracts to take both internet connectivity (broadband or leased lines) and mobile products will get 10% of the value of their new plan to spend on a range of tech for their teams, from the latest smartphones and tablets, to printers and laptops. New customers that take out both internet connectivity and mobile products will receive 10% of their total monthly contract value in a Get More Fund.