Business in Wales is bouncing back. The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) recently outlined a five-step plan on how to place technological advances and business innovation front and centre to ensure profitable economic growth. The main crux of the report was that full-scale adoption was necessary in order for businesses to succeed, so these tech implications must be widely implemented. Already benefitting from current short-term investment, how can businesses ensure they flourish in the long term with the help of technological and digital innovations?
Business growth is dependent on suitable conditions for this growth, such as infrastructure. Governmental policy could benefit business by the rollout of widespread internet accessibility. While many major cities and towns have the infrastructure in place, rural areas are still lacking – for instance, Penfford reports some of the slowest internet speeds in Wales. It would take nearly 12 hours to download a two-hour film, compared to the mere minutes in Cardiff.
Plans by the government in Wales set out in 2013 have enabled 93% of premises to have access to suitable internet speeds, so continuing this will ensure that there is no ‘digital divide’ that may hamper business growth in the future.
Providing businesses with the digital skills necessary is also important to ensure that they are taking advantage of the huge upsurge in digital need and are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a digital era. Some digital businesses are thriving in Wales, which shows promise for the region.
For instance, digital agency WebBox used £400,000 from NatWest to improve their premises, showing promise for the region when it comes to all things digital. The CBI places a focus on the need to prepare more people – especially those from traditional job backgrounds – to be digitally savvy. Part of the digital development also includes rolling out new technologies, such as AI, which could further benefit businesses.
The current situation has presented the many benefits of working from home, however for us at WebBox seeing all this press coverage about our amazing new office space this week has us all itching to go back! 😀 pic.twitter.com/ajr4GqZJtS
— WebBox® (@webboxdigital) June 26, 2020
Invest in Innovation
The most important consideration for businesses to succeed is to increase innovation. For example, Wales is home to the tech innovators who invented the paper straws for McDonald’s, Transcend Packaging, who harnessed innovation to solve a problem and gained £10 million in backing for their further developments.
Taking advantage of the digital environment for this innovation is also key. FSB conducted a survey that found 40% of Welsh businesses had boosted their digital side in 2020 alone, which helps to engage with customers. For example, Great British Bake Off: The Professionals bakers at Cocorico Patisserie boosted a click and collect online service for their bakes, taking advantage of the speedy service to deliver their cakes.
Finding customers where they are is important, as Ammanford’s Coaltown Coffee’s huge surge in online orders for April 2020 following digital enhancement of sales procedures shows. Moreover, being able to allow customers to engage on mobile is a factor considered by many customers at VegasSlots, a site which shows this is a focal component for customers choosing an online casino operator. Moreover, Llandudno boutique Knightsbridge House Boutique has aspiration to be Wales’s Harrods after sparking a lot of engagement via social media.
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The CBI reported in 2017 that there were fewer businesses built with rudimentary digital skills than there were in Denmark a decade before. So upskilling digital and enhancing tech innovations have never been more in order. This will not only provide as many opportunities for businesses to engage with customers where they are as possible, but to also ensure that business growth continues despite downcast global growth projections.