UK businesses shy away from IT innovation

Link: SMEs can lead way on innovation

UK firms are shying away from deploying new technology at the expense of productivity and competitiveness, a survey has claimed.

Only 28% of the companies questions directly linked their ability to innovate with IT use. Most of the respondents were living with aging systems they were not prepared to change because they had invested too much in them already, it claimed.

Nearly half (46%) of companies surveyed said they do not review how effective their IT is in support of the business every year; of those that do, only 12% prefer to rely the objectivity of independent external audits. More than two in five rely on internal audits alone.

Jamie Anderson, programme director of the Centre for Management Development at the London Business School said that companies should encourage the use of innovative technology – even if unproven in their own industry.

‘Incremental innovation marginally improves products, services or processes,’ he said.

‘Radical innovation involves changing a businesses operating model or introducing a new, radical product.’

Anderson urged companies to identify the areas where they need to innovate and look outside their own industry to find examples of where other companies have used technology to solve a similar problem.

He also said that in order for innovation to really translate into bottom-line success, ‘you will need the absolute commitment of the board’.

He warned: ‘You will meet with political resistance because in some cases you are doing away with physical processes for virtual ones. And you must recognise that there will also be process constraints and the need to change the mindset of people.’

The survey sponsored by Oracle interviewed senior managers of 300 English, Scottish and Irish companies with 250 or more employees.

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