- UK small businesses often lack the resources to tackle their technology needs head-on
- The total employment in SMEs was 16.3 million (61%), while turnover was estimated at £2.3 trillion (52%)
- Businesses with one to 25 employees need help reaching new audiences, taking their business online, basic IT needs, and upskilling
Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. They employ almost 17 million people, support the local community, and are often run by passionate entrepreneurs doing what they love.
According to UK Small Business Statistics, in 2021, small-medium enterprises (SMEs) have accounted for three-fifths of the employment and around half of the turnover in the private sector. The total employment in SMEs was 16.3 million (61%), while turnover was estimated at £2.3 trillion (52%).
However, UK small businesses often lack the resources to tackle their technology needs head-on. These businesses must be able to access affordable technology consultation and support to stay competitive and drive growth.
Recognizing UK small business tech needs
Microsoft has recognized this challenge and has recently announced a new, free one-on-one consultation service to help small businesses with their tech needs. Product experts run the Business Consultation service at the Microsoft Experience Centre in London.
Businesses can inquire from hardware and software queries to VPN, security, backup, and more — all from the company’s product specialists via video, chat, or audio call. Microsoft has said that its specialists will be able to listen to needs, answer questions, and provide personalized solutions.
The service also aims to help UK small businesses use innovative new technological methods to improve their productivity, communication, and workflow. Microsoft has also partnered with InSignLanguage to provide British Sign Language interpreters for these consultations in Microsoft Teams.
UK small businesses need support
Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group research also found that businesses with one to 25 employees needed help reaching new audiences, taking their business online, basic IT needs, and upskilling.
It is more important than ever for companies to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in today’s economy. As new advancements are made, the workforce must be updated to keep up with the competition and to stay ahead of cyber threats that might undermine the business.
This necessitates a shift in thinking — from a model where employees are trained on the job to one where employees are hired with the expectation that they will undergo continual training throughout their tenure with the company.
The study also revealed that around 40% of businesses cite challenges in selecting digital solutions, 73% prefer human assistance when choosing products, and value post-purchase support.
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Senior Hub Manager at Microsoft UK, Joy Attuh, said, “We recognize that organizations across the UK may need more personalized support as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and ways of working change. The free Business Consultation service can help with digital transformation plans by deploying cloud-based technology tools and services such as Microsoft 365 and Dynamics to empower employees and unlock growth.”
“Microsoft will be there every step to answer questions and guide customers to find the solutions they need,” added Attuh.
3 October 2023
3 October 2023