2017 was a record funding year with £2.99bn of venture capital investment pumped into UK tech companies. However, it’s a different story when it comes to UK businesses investing their money into new technologies.
In fact, the UK is lagging behind 12 other countries when it comes to technological investments, a Dell survey of 3,800 business leaders in Europe, America and Asia has found. Just 16% of UK businesses are investing in AI, which is less than 31% in France, 26% in Germany and 22% in Italy.
When it comes to IoT investment, the global average is 46% while the UK’s is 34%. This isn’t an isolated incident either – the global average is higher across application acceleration, converged infrastructure, high-performance computer technologies, VR and AR. The UK has only taken a marginal lead when it comes to analytics and big data, with 53% invested compared to the 50% global average and 50% versus 49% global average for hybrid cloud investment. Another slight encouraging sign is that while only 29% invest in high-performance computers currently, 49% plan to do so in the coming years.
One reason for the UK reluctance to invest has been put down to uncertainty, with two-thirds of respondents saying they’re unsure how the next ten to 15 years will look, which is likely a result of Brexit hovering overhead like a dark cloud. Only Japanese leaders had similarly deep concerns, though the UK hesitation was still highest across the board.
Dell warned that UK businesses will need to increase investments in these new and developing technologies if they want to avoid falling behind.
Commenting on the research, Dayne Turbitt, SVP of enterprise, UK & Ireland, Dell EMC, said: “In a time when the UK is looking to make its own path outside of the EU, there has to be a greater investment in technologies that have the potential to deliver a significant competitive advantage. Greater collaboration within businesses in delivering this change is a crucial step in this process.”
Although UK business leaders seem to be biding their time, the study did find they believe employee buy-in and collaboration are essential for adoption of new technologies to work. Given almost half of UK businesses plan to boost the their investments in high-performance computers, it’s safe to say the race for becoming the European, or even global, tech leader isn’t over just yet.