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CBI and IBM: Digital divide in British economy

Published: May 24, 2016

The British economy is suffering from a digital divide that could have a long-term impact on the nation, according to a study from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and IBM.

Results from the survey show that 55 per cent of businesses are embracing digital technologies, while the remaining 45 per cent are falling behind.

At present, the UK ranks 14th in the world for uptake of digital technology, largely due to many firms not being as willing as their overseas competitors to implement high-tech solutions to a whole host of processes.

A total of 42 per cent of UK firms involved in the study expressed concern that a lack of appropriate skills was undermining efforts to introduce digital systems, while 33 per cent believed the potential returns on the investment in technology are not straightforward.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “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.”

David Stokes, chief executive of IBM UK and Ireland, commented: “As one of the leading digital economies in the world, the UK finds itself with a tremendous opportunity and responsibility for business leaders to sustain and grow our leadership in the world.

“This is an opportunity that we in the business community should be hugely excited to face together.”

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