UK SMEs struggling to manage digital services amidst mounting economic challenges

  • 37% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) believe they lack capacity to manage multiple ICT suppliers, contracts, and licences as they try to stay afloat in the challenging economic environment
  • Quarter of SMEs (25%) feel their current digital tools are not resilient enough to help protect their business from emerging challenges
  • More than one in five SMEs (22%) are not confident that their digital tools are secure
  • 17% of SMEs disagree their current suppliers of connectivity tools help them to adapt to changing circumstances

A SURVEY from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Vodafone, of almost 900 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the UK, reveals the issues they are facing managing their digital tools (broadband, audio and visual conferencing tools, and collaboration tools) within a challenging economic environment – with cost, a lack of time and inflexibility being the leading challenges.

The findings come at a time when SMEs are already facing an uphill battle to survive with rising inflation, spiralling energy costs and low growth risking long-term prosperity.

The management of digital tools stood out as a significant cause for concern for SMEs, with almost four in ten (38%) believing they did not have the capacity to effectively manage multiple ICT suppliers, contracts, and licences.

A quarter (25%) of SMEs did not feel that their digital tools were resilient enough to help protect their business from emerging trends, just over a fifth (22%) did not feel that their digital tools were secure, whilst 17% disagreed their current suppliers of connectivity tools enabled them to adapt to changing circumstances.

Commenting on the results of the BCC Connectivity Survey 2022, BCC Director General Shevaun Haviland said:

“In an environment where businesses are facing spiralling energy costs, record inflation and a declining economy, firms must feel confident in the technology they rely on to serve their needs and carry them into the future.

“Our Connectivity Survey has highlighted significant areas of concerns for businesses, with firms expressing particularly low levels of confidence in the flexibility and value for money offered to them by suppliers.

“With BCC data highlighting the huge challenges businesses are facing in the current economic environment, now more than ever, they need help wherever they can find it. Finding the right connectivity tools for firms can not only save time and money, it can also help future-proof businesses against further challenges down the line.

“Suppliers of digital tools and services must work with businesses, in particular small and medium sized businesses, to ensure that they find their right fit and reap the benefits of a flexible and secure connectivity offering.”

Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business, Vodafone said:

“Given the current economic climate, we believe even more needs to be done to make life easier for SMEs and give them the flexibility they need.

“That’s why we’ve launched Vodafone Pulse Connect – a flexible and secure offering for SMEs that bundles mobile, enterprise grade broadband and collaboration tools into one ultimate package, all covered by just one monthly bill. With the ability to ‘flex’ services as required, SMEs can quickly adapt to new challenges when they need to.” 

To find out more about Vodafone Pulse Connect visit:

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