UK businesses have issued a call for help, with technology and connectivity ranking among the top five focus areas for firms in 2017.
British businesses have called on the UK government to do more to support them in the New Year, urging the prioritisation of pro-business measures.
The call for more support comes against a Brexit-backdrop, with economic uncertainty, building customer loyalty and increased competition named as the top concerns for businesses heading into 2017.
According to the O2 Business Barometer, over three quarters of businesses of all sizes (76%) want the government to do more to help navigate these challenges.
The survey also revealed the top five focus areas which businesses want more government input and support. Topping the list was a reduction in red tape (64%), followed by improved access to technology and connectivity (48%).
The call for improved access to tech and connectivity shows the desire for British business to remain competitive in the ever growing digital world. According to figures from Ofcom, more than four in every five adults own a smartphone and nearly three quarters use a mobile to access the internet on the go.
As a result, a third (33%) of businesses expect their customers to want to access more of their products or services online or via mobile in 2017. More than one-in-three (38%) also say they expect more of their customers to interact with them “through digital means” such as social media in 2017. Due to this demand, half (59%) of all businesses say better access to connectivity would benefit their organisation – compared to just (46%) who say that improved physical infrastructure would benefit them.
“The O2 Business Barometer offers a stark reminder that mobile technology is now a vital part of modern life and business and it’s transforming our economy. For us to continue to deliver a customer-centred digital transformation it has to be supported by further digital infrastructure investment,” said Ben Dowd, Sales Director at O2.
“The Government has set out its plans for a ‘world class digital infrastructure’. Now it’s time for action. We need collective effort from Government and industry to make sure businesses across Britain have access to the technology and connectivity they need to keep up with their customers’ demands, achieve growth and remain competitive on the global stage.”
In addition to the cutting of red tape and improved access to tech, the three other focus areas identified by the survey were increased access to funding (41%), improved access to talent/training (39%) and improved trade agreements (37%).