Vodafone: SMEs who digitalise will survive

By Janet Brice
SMEs who navigate through the tech maze and adopt digital ways of working are more likely to be thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Vodafone...

 Small businesses that adopt digital ways of working are more likely to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future, Vodafone research reveals.

Vodafone surveyed 1,200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across key European markets in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy and found that companies adopting digital practices are more likely to have found new opportunities during the pandemic.

“In fact, the most digitised firms won new business at more than double the rate of the least digitalised,” said Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK.

“It was fascinating to learn how businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and how governments across Europe have responded to it. And it’s clear that going digital has made many small firms more resilient.”

She said the findings are backed up by Vodafone’s earlier paper, Future Ready Report, which showed that 44% of businesses expected the digital practices they had implemented in recent months to be permanent.

So given these findings, what is holding so many other small businesses back from embracing new digital technologies? Asks Sheehan.

“Nearly three quarters admitted that setting it all up is just too darn difficult – integrating existing tech and migrating important data to new systems, and so on,” she commented.

Call for government action

Vodafone thinks there is an important role for government to play by adopting a ‘digital adoption’ policy framework for SMEs that should do the following:

• Addresses the need to implement and promote high-speed connectivity

• Offers grants, vouchers or tax incentives to encourage SMEs to go digital

• Deliver additional one-stop-shop information and guidance resources

Support from Vodafone

“At Vodafone, we helped our SME customers in a number of ways, offering six months of free broadband and six months’ free use of Office 365, for example, as well as free one-to-one guidance and support from our V-Hub agents. And we’ve now followed that up with a £125 bill credit for customers buying business broadband.”

Mobile and broadband connectivity; cyber-security tools and advice; cloud-based hosting and data management are also offered by Vodafone customers along with their Business Unusual podcasts, hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

“As you can see, we are very well placed to help navigate SMEs through the tech maze, identifying the services and tools that are right for them.

“We have an opportunity to shape the economic recovery in a way that delivers sustainable, long-lasting change with impact. Investing in small businesses, and helping them achieve their full, digital potential, will ensure a stronger, future-proofed UK,” concludes Sheehan.

For more information on business topics in Europe, Middle East and Africa please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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