The Bank of Scotland Business Digital Index 2017 has shown that 48% of Scotland’s small businesses don’t have basic digital skills that could help them improve productivity and save costs.
The report has found that digitally capable organisations are twice as likely to report an increase in turnover compared to non-digital equivalents and are also more productive. In Scotland, 71% of businesses reported saving time from being online and 56% said they saved on costs.
Of the Scottish small businesses who are online, 18% said trading overseas is one of the key benefits of being online. However, despite the advantages of embracing digital, more than half (56%) of Scottish SME’s do not have their own website and half do not use social media.
Whilst the gap between the digital capability of businesses has widened, there are reasons to be optimistic with 670,000 organisations across the UK on the cusp of having Basic Digital Skills.
The Basic Digital Skills measure was introduced in 2016 and designed to gauge an organisation’s digital capability. For businesses to have full Basic Digital Skills, they need to demonstrate at least one task in each of the following skills, managing information, transacting, communicating online and using digital to problem solve and create content like adverts and promotional material for their business.
Philip Grant, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for Scotland and chair of the Scottish Executive Committee, said: “Digital technology continues to offer tremendous opportunities for Scotland’s business community, increasing sales, improving productivity and opening up international markets. But to leverage this, it’s essential that businesses have the right skills.
“To help, we’re providing regular Digital Garages across the country to give small businesses access to free, expert advice, as part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. In Scotland, we currently have more than 4,900 digital champions - colleagues who are trained and empowered to help improve the basic digital skills of people and businesses within their local communities.”
Lloyds Banking Group, working with Government’s digital skills partnership, has pledged to provide face-to-face digital skills training (including online banking) for 2.5 million individuals, small businesses and charities by 2020.