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SMEs are placing their bets on AI, IoT and blockchain to fuel digital transformation, finds new research

by Anthony Weaver

SMEs are placing their bets on AI, IoT and blockchain to fuel digital transformation, finds new research

Cloud Industry Forum and Ingram Micro Cloud find SMEs are moving towards next generation technologies, though skills shortages and security concerns are hindering progress

Although UK SMEs are increasingly convinced about the opportunities presented by next generation technologies, such as AI, IoT and blockchain, many are struggling to incorporate them into their technology roadmaps. This is the key finding from a new research report launched today by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and Ingram Micro Cloud, who warn that the channel must do more to help drive digital transformation within the SME community.

The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne, sought to understand how far along UK-based SMEs are on their digital transformation journeys and the challenges that are confronting them along the way. It found that around four in ten respondents had already invested in AI (39%), blockchain (46%) or IoT (43%) to some extent and that a similar proportion thought these technologies would be critical or very important for their organisations over the next five years.

However, despite this enthusiasm, the vast majority identified barriers to their organisation’s digital transformation efforts. Just 29% of SMEs have a formulated digital transformation strategy in place, indicating a lack of clear guidance and leadership, 45% lacked digital transformation skills, and almost two third (64%) struggled with security.

For CIF and Ingram Micro Cloud, these findings highlight the opportunity for channel partners who must accelerate their own transformation plans if they are to capitalise on the growing demand for next generation technologies.

Commenting on the findings, Scott Murphy, Cloud and Advanced Solutions Director at Ingram Micro, said: “The findings from the research indicate that SMEs are increasingly aware of the need to embrace a modern workplace and that digital transformation is at the forefront of their business strategies. With this in mind, SMEs are leveraging cloud infrastructure to explore a range of next generation technologies, and are, in fact, further along that road than large enterprises. However, it’s clear that many SMEs don’t have the skills, guidance, and support to safely transform their businesses, and, as such, it’s critical that the channel can step up to the mark and better support their transformation efforts.”

Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, added: “SMEs are clearly aware of the need for digital transformation and are enthusiastic about the opportunities new digital technologies can deliver. But equally clear is that they’re not getting enough assistance from the channel to see it through. Given that many channel partners are still at the very early stages of their own transformations, and still learning about how they can incorporate next generation technologies into their portfolios, this is to be expected. However, I’d hope that these research findings will spur the reseller community to accelerate their own transformation plans and seize the opportunities on offer.”

For more information, and to download the full report – Cloud – the next generation: SMEs -visit: http://go.ingrammicrocloud.com/CIF-Whitepaper

About the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF)

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) is a not-for-profit membership driven trade body established in 2009 as a direct response to the evolving supply models for the delivery of cloud based software and IT services.

Under the direction of our members, CIF has three priorities:

  1. Create a platform to discuss, engage and partner within the cloud supplier community to ensure thought leadership and market direction. We do this through regular members meetings, media and customer events, whitepapers and market research – an example of the latest Digital Transformation report can be found here.
  2. To drive a common and public level of transparency about the capability and substance of Cloud Service Providers through a process of self-certification to an EU recognised Code of Practice. This Code of Practice enables CSPs to present their proposition as trusted suppliers whilst raising their credibility and brand which are all publicly accessible via the CIF website.
  3. Acknowledging the digital skills gap, CIF has built a Professional Membership program enabling IT professionals to see best practice of cloud adoption. Following a Cloud Adoption Roadmap, users and suppliers can enhance their skills and achieve Professional Certification via an online training process.

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