• UK Business and Charity Digital Index - National and regional factsheets

    In order to provide the most actionable insight possible, a selection of the findings for SMEs are provided at a national and regional level. This delivers a more local lens for Government, industry partners and tech companies, enabling more targeted strategies for the digital inclusion agenda across the UK.

    Please find below an overview of some of our key findings at a national and regional level.

  • Select a region:

    • Scotland

      All SMEs are now online, and full Basic Digital Skills has increased 60% since 2015 to 56% and a UK best 81% increase since 2015 for those with 4 Basic Digital Skills. To continue this growth, greater adoption of digital strategy and leadership (only 18% want in the future) and investment in development of digital skills is required, to allow greater evolution of skills such as data analytics and digital marketing to improve productivity and enhance all round benefits. 60% of SMEs will soon have fully embedded cyber security skills, but the focus needs to switch to the 4 in 10 who do not see this as relevant.

      Download the report for Scotland
    • East Midlands

      East Midlands has seen a 54% increase in SMEs with full Basic Digital Skills since 2015. 60% now have full Basic Digital Skills, and the number offline has fallen to just 1%. Cyber security adoption is a key focus with 29% implementing this in the near future, but 33% seeing this as not relevant to them. Mind-set has improved as the adoption of growth skills such strategy & leadership, marketing and data analytics are a key focus over the next 2 years. To deliver and embed change, investment in digital training is critical, as 74% are currently invest nothing in this.

      Download the report for the East Midlands
    • East England

      The region now has 57% of SMEs with all 5 Basic Digital Skills (UK average 58%). This growth is impacted by the largest percentage of organisations in the UK being offline at 3% against a UK average of 1%. Adoption in all skills is behind UK average in particular 43% still see no benefit of cyber-security. Strategy & Leadership is a driver for successful adoption, yet 74% do not see this as relevant, and 77% are not investing in staff development, both of which impact any future growth and adoption.

      Download the report for East England
    • London

      Almost 2 in 3 SMEs have full Basic Digital Skills, however progress has slowed. This is reflected in the depth of adoption with many SMEs not yet deriving the maximum benefits from digital adoption. 66% of SMEs don’t currently invest in digital skills learning, 56% don’t see social media and digital marketing as relevant, and 51% have no desire to benefit from data analytics. Despite this, London has a UK leading desire to adopt machine learning and AI with 26% keen to adopt this in the near future.

      Download the report for London
    • North East

      North East SMEs continue to make significant progress with their digital adoption. 58% of SMEs now have full Basic Digital Skills, versus 37% in 2015. The region has also seen a large reduction in the number of offline SMEs. In 2014 when the Index report began, 7% of SMEs were digitally excluded. In 2018 this is only 1% and in line with the national average. Whilst these headlines paint a positive picture, investment in digital skills training since 2014 has decreased with 29% of SMEs doing so in 2018, compared to 37% in 2014. 37% of SMEs in the North East also do not yet have a website – significantly more than the 32% national average.

      Download the report for the North East
    • North West

      The North West region has seen significant progress in the number of SMEs taking on digital adoption. 2014 saw a UK high of 13% of SMEs being digitally excluded. This has now dropped to only 1% in 2018. Across the same time period, the digital capability – Index score – of SMEs in the North West has risen from 42 to 56. The region is also ahead of the UK average in adopting a broader range of skills such as the use of mobile banking, greater use of digital advertising to promote their business and greater adoption of digital accounting processes and cloud infrastructure.

      Download the report for the North West
    • South East

      Those SMEs with full Basic Digital Skills has increased by 75% since 2015 to 63%, and the region has the UK’s highest index score of 62. The region also sees above the UK average adoption of all the Basic Digital Skills tasks and 74% of SMEs will also have cyber security skills in the near future. To ensure continued growth more leaders need to adopt a digital strategy (only 26% of SMEs are doing this in 2018) and invest in digital skills to support growth in productivity by enhancing problem solving skills and improving the management of information, data analytics and therefore customer intelligence.

      Download the report for the South East
    • South West

      Since 2014 there has been significant progress in the South West, but the region continues to be below national average. Just over 1 in 2 SMEs in the South West have full Basic Digital Skills compared to 58% at a total UK level. 3% of organisations are still offline versus 1% nationally. The data shows that many of the more basic skills & index measures are well embedded across the region, such as the ability to transact online and manage enquiries online, however the additional skills to support infrastructure and advertising are not as embedded within the region. For a number of SMEs, understanding the relevancy of digital to their business or the need to grow an online presence is still a barrier; for example, over 1 in 3 do not see cybersecurity as relevant to them at all.

      Download the report for the South West
    • Wales

      Over the last 3 years, the number of organisations with all 5 Basic Digital Skills has grown from 33% to 55% which is significant progress. A key lever of change has been that of the use of social media; 60% of SMEs now use social media channels to interact with customers, advertise and link to ecommerce platforms. Positively, the number of Welsh SMEs who are looking to embed Machine Learning & AI over the next 2 years is 17%, which is above the UK average of 15% and highlights intention towards progressive technology.

      Download the report for Wales
    • West Midlands

      The growth in digital adoption has been the slowest in the UK since 2015, with less than 1 in 2 SMEs having full Basic Digital Skills. 26% of SMEs have 4 of the 5 Basic Digital Skills and more focus is needed to support their continued development. With 37% of SMEs now without a website and 73% not investing in digital skills, the development of a digital strategy by leaders is key to future growth, but 70% don’t currently see this as being relevant. A major mind set shift is required to improve and invest in digital adoption to support growth in the region.

      Download the report for the West Midlands
    • Yorkshire and the Humber

      Since 2015, Yorkshire & Humberside has seen significant growth in the number of SMEs with full Basic Digital Skills, moving from 35% to 57%. This significant improvement has been supported by a major fall in the number of offline SMEs from 12% in 2014 to 3% in 2018. This is still 3 times the national average but indicates a positive trend. The adoption of cybersecurity is also a positive picture with 50% of SMEs already having adopted this skill fully and 17% due to have in place within 2 years.

      Download the report for Yorkshire and the Humber
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    Case study video


    To date we have spoken to over 10,000 SMEs and charities on the phone, in order to shape the insights up to 2018. Every data point represents a small organisation, and we speak to a number of these people to bring their stories to life on how digital impacts their business or charity. This year we spoke to Jewish Care, based in London, to find out how about their digital transformation and how they are creating a health care service fit for the future. Watch the video to hear how they are embedding digital across the organisation.

    Above within each factsheet, we have a selection of other local case study stories from each region.

  • Business and Charity Digital Index 2018 – Jewish Care Case Study Video

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