OGL Computer reveals top tech priorities and concerns for Midlands SMEs


Kidderminster-based IT services provider OGL Computer has revealed the top technology concerns and priorities in its new report: The State of Technology at UK SMEs.

The report also highlights newer technologies such as robotics and AI that SMEs plan to adopt, how SMEs are using technology to power remote workforces and what technologies they are adopting for growth.

Paul Colwell, Technical Director, OGL Computer and its cyber division CyberGuard Technologies, comments:

“The inaugural State of Technology at UK SMEs report reveals that the majority of IT decision-makers at SMEs have clear strategies for the future, and understand the opportunities and challenges that face their verticals in 2020.

“These range from the perennial, such as the ever-present threat of serious cyber-attack or data breach to effectively managing the increasing amount of data flowing through the organisation. In addition, moving to the cloud securely and an ongoing lack of technology-savvy workers emerged as key themes.”

The top three technology priorities for UK SMEs were revealed as increasing cyber security provision 39%, moving towards a more proactive IT strategy 39%, and increasing use of data and insights 37%.

While the main technology concerns for 2020 were cyber security attacks 67%, data management 56%, and a lack of technology-savvy workers 54%.

Cyber security featured heavily in the report, as the vast majority of Midlands SMEs (89%) confirmed that they were more fearful of a cyber-attack or data breach, compared to 81% nationally. While 15% of IT decision-makers surveyed in the region have no cyber strategy in place, compared with 17% nationally. The report also gives advice on building a cyber security strategy and reveals industries most likely to suffer from a cyber-attack.

The report reveals how SMEs are using technology to power remote workforces, what technologies they are adopting for growth and if they planned to move to the cloud. In spite of their familiarity with cloud technology, a sizeable 82% of Midlands SMEs are nervous about moving from an on-premise IT infrastructure to a cloud infrastructure, due to concerns over data security. This is compared to 76% of UK SMEs.

Survey respondent Nicola Smith, who is a Director from Nottingham-based Star Fasteners, says:

“Many SMEs are scared to move to the cloud because they feel uneasy with data being held off-site and not having control of their hardware”.

The report also highlights newer technologies such as 5G, robotics, AI and automation that UK SMEs plan to adopt. Nationally, 5G was a firm favourite with SMEs, with 59% planning on adopting this emerging technology, but for Midlands’ SMEs 5G came in third (39%) behind blockchain (51%) and automation (44%).

Survey respondent Ian Wright, Managing Director at Loughborough-based SDI Displays, said:

“The main reasons for adopting new technologies for your business is to be as efficient as possible. As long as it is secure and provides a business efficiency then it’s worth trying. It has to be right for our business though. We will look at each technology on its own merit, to see if it benefits our business. We have no immediate intentions to change everything, but working with OGL and technology partners, we want to keep moving with the times.

“Technology has even helped our remote workforce as our commercial team can work and access our business systems from anywhere in the UK and Europe if required. It means we can be consistent and efficient in our reporting and communications across the business.”

To develop the report OGL Computer surveyed technology decision makers in SMEs with 50-500 employees across a range of industries.

Download the full report at www.ogl.co.uk/SOTreport2020