Although UK SMEs are increasingly convinced about the opportunities presented by next generation technologies, such as AI, IoT and blockchain, many are struggling to incorporate them into their technology roadmaps.
That’s according to new research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and Ingram Micro Cloud, who warn that the channel must do more to help drive digital transformation within the SME community.
The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that around four in ten respondents had already invested in AI (39 percent), blockchain (46 percent) or IoT (43 percent) to some extent and that a similar proportion thought these technologies would be critical or very important for their organisations over the next five years.
However, despite this enthusiasm, the vast majority identified barriers to their organisation’s digital transformation efforts. Just 29 percent of SMEs have a formulated digital transformation strategy in place, indicating a lack of clear guidance and leadership, 45 percent lacked digital transformation skills, and almost two third (64 percent) struggled with security.
For CIF and Ingram Micro Cloud, these findings highlight the opportunity for channel partners who must accelerate their own transformation plans if they are to capitalise on the growing demand for next generation technologies.
“The findings from the research indicate that SMEs are increasingly aware of the need to embrace a modern workplace and that digital transformation is at the forefront of their business strategies,” says Scott Murphy, cloud and advanced solutions director at Ingram Micro.
“SMEs are leveraging cloud infrastructure to explore a range of next generation technologies, and are, in fact, further along that road than large enterprises. However, it’s clear that many SMEs don’t have the skills, guidance, and support to safely transform their businesses, and, as such, it’s critical that the channel can step up to the mark and better support their transformation efforts.”
Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, added: “SMEs are clearly aware of the need for digital transformation and are enthusiastic about the opportunities new digital technologies can deliver. But equally clear is that they’re not getting enough assistance from the channel to see it through. Given that many channel partners are still at the very early stages of their own transformations, and still learning about how they can incorporate next generation technologies into their portfolios, this is to be expected. However, I’d hope that these research findings will spur the reseller community to accelerate their own transformation plans and seize the opportunities on offer.”