Skills shortage and recession fears could halt tech investment

An independent survey among more than 750 UK businesses has uncovered their desire to improve their websites, apps and customer-facing tech, as well as the barriers standing in their way:

More than half of UK business leaders believe their companies’ digital platforms (websites, apps and customer-facing tech) fail to stand out against competitors, with almost half ready to invest in making improvements in 2023, new research from Studio Graphene has revealed.

The digital agency commissioned an independent survey of 754 senior decision-makers from within UK businesses. While 66% think their digital platforms are effective in explaining who they are and what they do, 44% said that their digital platforms do not do justice to the quality of the product or service they offer.

Further, more than half (52%) of UK businesses believe their competitors have better customer-facing tech than they do. 

Looking ahead, 46% of decision-makers said their business plans to update, refresh or completely recreate its digital platforms in 2023.

However, 65% lack the skills to do so, with 48% reporting a “damaging” lack of digital skills within their business. 

Additionally, 65% worry the recession, high inflation and rising interest rates will prevent them from investing in customer-facing tech next year.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Despite the rush to embrace digital transformation in recent years, clearly many businesses remain unhappy with their websites, apps and customer-facing tech, leaving them envious of their competitors. It is a common issue, and that almost half (46%) of companies plan to invest in revamping their digital offering in 2023 is telling.

“Crucially, however, our research exposes two significant obstacles: the current economic climate and the digital skills crisis. With tight budgets and limited internal expertise, businesses must be extremely savvy in the way they plan and execute digital projects next year.

“Creating great digital products needn’t require huge investment, but the process has to start with a razor-sharp understanding of the user and how you can capture their attention. And understand, often, less is more. From this starting point, businesses can create compelling platforms that make them stand out, in turn helping them achieve cut-through in this challenging, uncertain period.”