Louise McVicker, Campaigns Manager

Survive & thrive: tips for avoiding Digital Extinction

Back in December we were proud supporters of the 4th Digital Leaders Conference in London. From this event, we've gathered a few tips on how to avoid 'Digital Extinction'. 

The 4th Digital Leaders Conference issued a stark warning to an audience of movers and shakers from the private and public sectors: fully embrace digital technology… or face certain extinction.

From smartphones to online shopping, technology is inextricably woven into our everyday lives. 13 million people in the UK access the Internet every day, and almost 60% of the population have active social media accounts. But despite tech’s ubiquity, many companies – particularly SMEs – aren’t making the most of the huge opportunities it presents.

As Nominet’s Russell Haworth affirmed, it’s never been easier to get online with hosting a website costing as little as £5 per month. The returns speak for themselves, with websites delivering business leads worth an average £16K a year. So with around 30-40% of small businesses still lacking a web presence, why are so many companies shy about going digital?

Simon Devonshire, Entrepreneur in Residence for the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, pointed out that it takes considerable effort to be one of the 49% of business not online in 2016. Here are my own takeaways from the ensuing discussion on addressing the UK’s digital skills shortfall and helping more companies get online.

  • Learn from the experts: One organisation that’s making a difference is Google, with its free ‘digital garages’ across the country giving organisations training and advice on sharpening their digital presence. 
  • The voice of youth: Russell Haworth highlighted the mutual benefits of offering unemployed young people apprentice-type roles in SME’s, who can benefit from youngsters’ natural digital skills, while providing valuable work experience and a foot up the career ladder.  
  • Get together: Collaboration is a powerful enabler. Organisations can exploit social media and crowdsourcing platforms to tap into fresh ideas and examples of best practice.
  • Mobile first: 39% of all retail online trade is now via mobile – a figure that’s increasing by a fifth year on year. And with online retailing via PC/laptops falling by 9% yearly, mobile must be front and centre in any digital strategy. 
  • Pace yourself: Developing your digital strategy as an ongoing, agile project. Rather than getting bogged down with large, slow-to-deliver projects, focus on small, regular updates and improvements that can rapidly deliver tangible returns.

Lastly, it’s vital to set out your organisation’s clear priorities – like Mastercard that has pinpointed the four areas of accessibility, transparency, security and privacy.  

At Texthelp we’re delighted that such a powerful global brand has called out accessibility as one of its key enablers for business success. Wherever you are in your digital journey, focusing on every user’s needs is critical if you don’t want to be a digital dinosaur. Why not see some of the success stories from other organisations who we’ve helped do just that?

Are your services transitioning online? Explore more about digital inclusion, and learn more from these free resources.


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