Technology is often the backbone of many businesses, powering growth, efficiency and adaptability. However, internal systems and software can cause many challenges for business owners and employees if not monitored and appropriately reviewed.
Changes in technology happen daily, driving the need for digital transformation in business. If you fall behind, it is more likely that your business will face financial hardship or damage to your reputation resulting from inefficiency and inaccuracy.
From out-of-date devices to historical platforms that no longer serve a purpose and processes that are not aligned across the business, we surveyed UK office-based workers to find out how much time was being spent facing challenges with technology and what those challenges are.
The top 10 challenges businesses faced¹ are:
- Understanding new capabilities of systems (27%)
- Out-of-date software (26%)
- Workload management issues (22%)
- Manual updates (20%)
- Technology skills gap (20%)
- Limited functionality of tools (19%)
- Software updates (18%)
- Data accuracy manual entry (18%)
- Processing speed (17%)
- Integration issues (16%)
The new research indicates that more than a quarter (27%) of businesses find difficulty understanding new capabilities of systems, and more than one in four (26%) admit out-of-date software cause everyday challenges at work.
The growth in technology skills shortage over the last 12 months appears to have impacted businesses, as one in five (20%) of respondents see the current tech skills gap as a challenge. According to the latest BCS State of the Nation report², there were more than 64,000 vacancies for UK tech jobs in the third quarter of last year.
With technology innovating daily, we understand that it is becoming increasingly more challenging to internally recruit and build an IT team with a forward-thinking digital mindset. However, sourcing a digitally-driven team like Propel Tech that can act as an extension and work collaboratively to assess your technology and enhance the existing system could be the answer to your problems and financial goals.
Our team becomes part of your team and can hit the ground running with specialist skills and knowledge, minimising downtime and maximising project delivery and support when needed most.
Splitting the results by industry, those working in logistics and transport (32%), manufacturing and engineering (28%), finance (32%), energy and utilities (30%) and law (44%) find out-of-date software the most challenging technical issue day-to-day.
Although surprisingly, cybersecurity privacy didn’t make the top ten overall, this was the biggest challenge for those working in science and pharmaceuticals (40%), equally as challenging as limited functionality of tools, lack of system integration, slow IT response times and lack of IT strategy.
Examples we often come across include:
- Rigidly enforced processes dictated by off-the-shelf software packages that don’t incorporate key steps in processes.
- Lack of application integration resulting in time-consuming manual intervention to keep systems and processes in sync.
- Poor user interfaces often causing confusion, mistakes and delays.
- Lack of self-service portals leading to higher enquiries and calls.
- Lack of automated customer communication means staff have to update customers manually or, worse, not at all.
How much time do we spend battling challenges in technology?
With over one in six (16%) businesses listing system integration as a significant challenge, the data suggests that overall, software or system issues, including integration, take up at least 94 working days a year.
The survey also revealed that, on average, across industries, businesses waste 104 working days a year due to out-of-date laptops, hardware or technology (that's at least two hours a week!); the manufacturing industry, in particular, wastes up to 122 working days a year!
Digital Transformation Case Study - Simply Washrooms
Simply Washrooms has been creating safe and sustainable working environments and service washrooms for over 30 years. With a nationwide fleet of service providers, Simply Washrooms must be able to plan routes, book customers, schedule and track supplies, manage workload and teams on the move and factor in real-time delays, disruptions or staffing changes to meet and deliver their client's needs.
Andrew Shelley at Simply Washrooms outlines the impact the digital transformation of their document storage and sharing system has had on their delivery of services: "As our business had grown, our documentation systems requirements had changed and evolved. A critical part of our service offering was providing legally required waste processing notes, which needed to be created on the move by our team that services buildings and then stored centrally for all to access. With this in mind, we wanted to put technology at the heart of our business to help us service our clients more effectively and become more transparent.
“Working with experts in bespoke software development has completely transformed our document creation, storage and management system. After an in-depth dive into our system and infrastructure, an entire serverless documentation infrastructure was developed that integrated across our business to deliver essential waste management paperwork to clients instantly. Our new system has created business efficiencies, and it has removed costly and time-consuming manual entry or duplicate logging.
“Knowing that we have a trusted technology partner that understands our process inside-out and can provide ongoing support and monitoring for the essential documentation system ensures that our team can focus on improving customer service instead of manual data capture or technical challenges.”
What are the benefits of bespoke software development?
At Propel Tech, we spend a large proportion of our time improving business efficiency and best practices in organisations. We often find businesses have systems in place that were once fit for purpose but have not been managed or updated over time as the business has evolved. In order to reduce challenges within the workplace and improve accuracy and efficiency, businesses should be looking to improve current systems as soon as possible or replace them with a new infrastructure depending on the functionality and technology used.
Developing and updating bespoke business software and processes can help improve:
- User expectations and experiences with technology.
- System functionality and administration.
- Dependability by replacing unreliable systems that negatively impact productivity.
- Complexity and ensure your software applications integrate and work together effectively.
- Capability to efficiently scale and grow while keeping your business competitive.
- Survey of 1000 UK office-based workers conducted with TLF Research in September 2022