Business body’s recommendations to bridge the digital divide

There is a risk of a “digital divide” opening up among Britain’s businesses, according to recent research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The nation as a whole is faring well on the global stage, having been ranked first for e-commerce and in fifth place when it comes to the availability of technology.

That said, there are concerns about a gulf opening between so-called “pioneer” firms, which have been quick to embrace the latest innovations, and other businesses which are at risk of falling behind the frontrunners.

While the latter group are by no means ignorant about the importance of new technology, their ability to adapt is sometimes hampered by a lack of appropriate skills within the workforce.

As a consequence, the CBI has called for more businesses to appoint a specialist technology officer who would be responsible for driving a firm’s digital strategy.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director-general, said: “Businesses globally are in the throes of an extraordinary digital revolution that is transforming productivity and creating a new generation of winning companies.

“But in the UK, too many firms are being left behind. While pioneering firms are seizing digital opportunities, nearly half are struggling – a growing digital divide that is threatening UK competitiveness.

“It’s vital that businesses in all sectors – from manufacturing to retail – truly understand digital technology’s potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor…By harnessing the expertise of the generation at the heart of the digital revolution, firms will be better able to make the right investments for their digital future.”

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