Last month, 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, academics and journalists united in Davos, committed to improving the state of the world by shaping global, regional and industry agendas.
Traditionally, the focus of Davos has been with heads of state, but this year, an unprecedented number of company delegates attended the forum. Significantly, the technology sector was particularly well represented. The advent of the digital age has prompted fundamental changes in the way we live, work, and communicate with one another. In this climate, companies in the technology sector have taken on a particularly important role: they are the leaders of a movement being dubbed as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’.
Technological developments pose an exciting but difficult challenge for many of our clients. According to the Geared for Growth Report, which looks into the ambitions of businesses, two thirds of SMEs expect business growth in the year ahead, and of these, 80% believe that technology plays an essential part in these plans for growth. Furthermore, the report found that the top 10% most ambitious companies were twice as likely to recognise the role technology has to play in bringing about growth.
However, these new technologies are often expensive and can be a significant investment for smaller companies. In a world where a couple of months stand between 'cutting-edge' and 'obsolete', it takes a very nimble company to change with technology, and many SMEs have decided that investing in new technologies just isn’t worth the risk. Astonishingly, the report also reveals that two thirds of SMEs are still offline, which, it is estimated, could be costing them a combined £18.8bn a year.
The challenges posed by the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ are very real and felt all over the world, but their ubiquity can be seen as a blessing in disguise. When companies are all facing the same difficulties, they are able to unite and face them together.