Virgin Media Business reveals the £12.7 billion Digital Opportunity in the Midlands…
20th October 2015 – Virgin Media Business, the arm of Virgin Media that provides products and services to UK businesses, today releases a major research report from Oxford Economics that outlines the huge potential of digital technologies to boost businesses in the Midlands. The report, ‘The UK’s £92 billion Digital Opportunity’, reveals that investment in digital technologies could provide a £12.7 billion boost to Midlands-based businesses, as well as creating almost 166,000 new jobs.
The report was compiled by Oxford Economics, following interviews with senior executives at over 1,000 UK-based companies who together represent 470,000 workers. 106 companies from the Midlands took part in the survey. When examining the impact of digital capabilities on business, Midlands-based companies said that they increased their revenues by 3.5% in the past year.
Looking at the next two years, companies from the Midlands are optimistic about the potential of digital to continue to drive growth. While digital is expected to result in some job losses (approximately 45,000 jobs in the region), 41% of Midlands-based businesses expect no jobs at all to become obsolete from the increasing use of digital. Overall, expected job losses are far outweighed by the number of employees companies anticipate hiring as a direct result of digital investments, which aggregated across the area are expected to total 166,000 new jobs. When it comes to growth, if all companies in the Midlands had access to the best digital capabilities available, the economy could be boosted by a further £12.7 billion per year.
Catching up with London and the South-East
In percentage growth terms, The Midlands’ potential £12.7 billion boost from digital represents an increase of 2.2%, following behind London’s potential increase of 3.6%. The Midlands has a greater potential gain than the East of England (1.4%) but is behind Scotland (3.6%), Wales and the North West (both with potential growth of 3.1%).
35% of firms in the Midlands now classify themselves as digital (either as a provider of digital products and services, or providing digital content as a part of its range of products and services). The report also found that 19% of companies in the Midlands can be classed as Digital Leaders – defined as those firms who are prioritising investment in a broad range of digital capabilities: technology infrastructure, digital workforce, digital information, digital strategy and leadership, open and collaborative partnerships and digital customer engagements. While on average Digital Leaders don’t spend any more money on technology than other firms, they spend it more wisely and achieve better results.
Jo Dutton, Regional Director for Midlands, Virgin Media Business, said: “Businesses in the Midlands have much to gain from digital, from increased revenues to greater job opportunities. However work is required to realise digital’s huge potential – businesses have to invest in the right technology, skills and training, while the government and industry need to provide infrastructure and support. We’re expanding our network significantly to bring the fastest broadband to businesses all over the country, and help them become digital leaders.”
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The Virgin Media Business report reveals a huge digital opportunity for UK businesses. Both the public and private sectors have much to gain from harnessing the benefits of digital technology. The UK is the tech capital of Europe but digital advances never stop, so if we want it to stay ahead we need more young people studying computing to a higher level. Looking into the future, the proposed EU digital single market, if delivered well, would be great news for both business and consumers, reducing barriers to e-commerce across the continent.”
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “The significant digital opportunity for businesses of all types and the economy as a whole is one that we can’t ignore. Government will continue working alongside companies like Virgin Media to transform the UK’s digital capabilities and laying the foundations for a thriving, digitally-led future.”
The Virgin Media Business fibre broadband network, which offers speeds 12 times faster than the average broadband connection, is currently available to 85% of businesses in the UK, with a £3 billion plan to expand it over the next five years. Combined with Virgin Media Business’s other high performance digital platforms, the company is best placed to help businesses of any size or type to become Digital Leaders.
The full report, ‘The UK’s £92 billion Digital Opportunity’, is available from: www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/DigitalOpportunity
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