Quarter of SMEs still feel dubious about digital

A DIGITAL “blind-spot” remains for a significant number of small firms and organisations that do not understand the benefits of new technology, according to a Bank of Scotland (BoS) survey.

Graham Blair, BoS's area director for SME banking in Scotland. Picture: Julie Bull

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) of all Scottish organisations surveyed believe digital is “irrelevant” to them, according to the UK Business Digital Index compiled by the bank in association with Accenture and digital skills charity Go ON UK.

The report tracks the level of digital adoption of SMEs and charities, such as running a website, using e-commerce, maintaining a social media presence or using online banking tools.

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Graham Blair, BoS’s area director for SME banking in Scotland, said it was clear “that real challenges remain around the perceived benefits of being digital”.

Graham Blair, BoS's area director for SME banking in Scotland. Picture: Julie Bull

He said: “We cannot emphasis enough the benefits that digital adoption can offer – such as saving time, increasing revenue or funding, and reaching wider audiences. Digital is the key to unlock these benefits.

“Even if a business does not believe they need to be online, many of their customers already are. There needs to be further awareness to give businesses the confidence to do more online.”

The index showed that the number of SMEs with basic digital skills has improved since 2014, increasing from 73 per cent to 75 per cent and there has been “slow but positive progress” in digital adoption among all organisations in the past year.