Go ON UK Digitisation, is it an “S” or a “Z”?

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“The Web as I envisage it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” (Tim Berners-Lee)  is Martha Lane Fox’s closing quote in her Forward to The Booz & Company Report “”This is for everyone” The Case for Universal Digitisation” Pdf  launched by Go ON UK  yesterday.

Go ON UK  are the charity chaired by Martha Lane Fox whose remit is “To make the UK the most digitally capable nation in the world.” They, sort of, are the successor to the Race online 2012 initiative.

The, few, Booz report media mentions were mainly of a “16 million people lack online skills”   variety.

We overall are rather impressed!

The UK just squeeze’s into the top digital dozen on Booz & Company’s own metric the “ Digitization Index, which compares the state of progress for nations around the world”.

They reckon we could do a lot better and “… estimate that the U.K. could have increased its annual 2011 GDP by up to £63billion if it had achieved global leadership in digitisation”.

They suggest a three pronged strategy:

  1. “Continue investing in the digital foundations …
  2. Promote Internet usage…
  3. Encourage the innovations and entrepreneurship of the private and not-for-profit sectors. …”

“This universal digitisation has the potential to unlock substantial economic and social benefits for four sectors ….

  1. Individuals can expect better quality of life through improved education, health, wealth, and well-being…
  2. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises drive economic growth: – supercharging revenue growth; digital technology can enable SMEs to unlock as much as £18.8 billion in incremental revenue…..
  3. Charities can make a bigger impact for less cost…..
  4. Government can better meet the goals of constituents through universal digitisation: Cost savings; central and local governments can potentially recoup £5.1 billion annually….”

They expand in detail, their metric, how the £63 billion is calculated and each of the above four sectors.

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Their opening words on the SME sector are “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the most dynamic, innovative sector of the U.K. economy. They generate 48.8 percent of private-sector turnover in the U.K. and employ 59 percent of private-sector personnel. They grew 3 percent in the first half of 2012, 52 while the rest of the economy flatlined; still, they are not growing nearly as much as they could”. Hear hear!

They then seek to demonstrate “……a clear link between online engagement and revenue growth” from some research by Lloyds Banking Group. From the same source they also note a further link between company size (in employee terms) and digital maturity. In the survey 26% of Sole traders (1 employee) were classified as digitally mature, 34% of small businesses (2-10 employees) and 65% of medium businesses (15-20 employees).

Their other highlights in the SME area are:

  • “Booz & Company estimates that annual total turnover of U.K. SMEs could be boosted by £18.8 billion if all of these firms sold and marketed online.
  • It is estimated that SMEs could reduce their cost base by up to 20 percent by digitizing their back-office operations.
  • Only 1 percent of U.K. SMEs make use of social media to generate revenue, whereas larger firms are rapidly investing in these technologies.
  • A full 25 percent of SMEs say that a lack of basic digital awareness and skills holds them back”

Thoroughly recommended reading.

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Just in case you don’t have time we will finish, as they do, with their conclusions, and encourage you to visit their site to find out what they are doing about it Go ON.

Editors note – We definitely  prefer digitisation with an S although we do rather favour the US pronunciation of Zee!

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