Close Brothers predicts 2016 will be the year SMEs embrace digital technologies

According to a new study conducted in January 2016, SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) are viewing digital opportunities as a major priority for investment in throughout 2016.

Close Brother Business Barometer data

Close Brothers Business Barometer – a quarterly survey which reveals the business intentions of 900 business owners and managers from across Great Britain – has produced new data which has revealed that 20% of SMEs plan to prioritise investment in technology this year. For the majority of these organisations, that will mean investing in new digital tools and technologies, such as DevOps tools and applications.

What’s more, the survey shows that similar numbers of SMEs are planning on investing in tools such as marketing (17%), developing new products and services (18%), and finally, skillsets (22%). In each of these investments, it’s likely that a digital focus will play an imperative role in the process.

Failing to invest in digital could result in being left behind

“SMEs are progressively realising that failing to invest in digital technologies could result in them being left behind by competitors or new entrants to their industries,” warned David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance. “They need to start seeing digital as an opportunity to acquire new customers, grow market share and move into new areas – but also to enable efficiencies that will reduce costs.”

SME’s face obstacles while incorporating digital technologies

Although SME’s are increasingly aware that they should be reaping the rewards of the benefits that incorporating digital technologies can offer, a number of obstacles stand in their way, such as Data privacy and cybersecurity. Both of which are becoming ever more challenging, but according to the study mentioned above, SMEs are willing and prepared to confront these challenges that have prevented them from reaping the benefits to date.

“Firms need support from a broad range of organisations as they work towards incorporating digital into the day-to-day running of the
business,” added Thomson. “Appropriate funding will be a crucial part of that support required to invest in new technology – from 
accounting software to more efficient machinery – and we believe alternative finance solutions, such as invoice finance, are key to
providing a bespoke and flexible option that works in line with each individual business’s objectives.”


Written by Jordan Platt