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UK’s state of digital adoption

UK’s state of digital adoption

By Jordan Lang

If it wasn’t clear before the pandemic, digital solutions are in the driver’s seat and are currently guiding the global future of business.

The UK is shoulder-to-shoulder with the heads of the pack when it comes to the adoption and growth of innovative technology.

Below is a snapshot of the position software has assumed in the United Kingdom and the impact it is having on the economy.

The tech takeover

In the UK, there are nearly three million jobs in the digital tech economy, more than either construction (1.9m) or financial services (1.2m).

In the past year alone, UK advanced digital technology companies have received a total of £2.46 billion in investment.

The UK tech startup and scaleup ecosystem is valued at $585bn—120% more than in 2017, and more than double the next most valuable ecosystem, Germany, at $291bn.

July 2021, A record 19.2 million devices have been purchased by UK consumers, marking the fastest ever rise in technology adoption in the past decade.

Surveys performed in July 2020 by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science demonstrate the dramatic impact of COVID on business performance, with 75% of those surveyed having moved to remote working and experiencing a 25% loss of revenue.

However, from late March to late July 2020, more than 60% of firms took up new digital tech and management practices (beyond basic remote working solutions), and around 33% invested in new digital capabilities. Approximately 50% have also introduced new products or services—all prompted or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commonly adopted technologies and digital capabilities include:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Customer relationship management software (CRM)
  • Remote working technology
  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – chatbots, etc.
  • E-commerce
  • Advanced analytics
  • Cyber security

For the development and uptake of advanced digital technologies, the UK ranks first in Europe and third in the world.

In addition to the benefits of economic and productivity growth, the process of adopting new digital technologies often leads to further innovation and adoption of new technologies.

This makes it crucial that first-time adopters of digital technologies and services are provided with enough support to make their digital transformation journeys as streamlined as possible.

Digital adoption in finance

The start of the pandemic marked the onset of a period of financial uncertainty and an unprecedented acceleration in technological development. As a result, reigning banks have needed to adapt to survive.

Some UK citizens have said that opening an account through a traditional player became challenging, so that could naturally lead consumers to move to more non-mainstream alternatives. 

High street banks have been facing increasing competition on a UX and design front; more agile fintech organisations are proving their ability to quickly incorporate elements such as mobile foreign exchange, spending notifications, biometrics, and more into their platforms, leading to a better customer experience overall.

While some of the finserv leaders are utilising digital adoption platforms to adapt their systems that are, in some cases, 40-50 years old, traditional financial institutions are very much so on the lookout for ways to catch up and capitalise on the mobile-first era.  

Another way of doing this is to embrace embedded fintech, where banks can incorporate services from niche fintech operators into their newly API-rich tech stacks, consolidating their product offering with modular services.

Hope in the face of adversity

They say necessity is the mother of invention. It has been a year in which the brutal necessity of restricting human contact has escalated the importance of tech of all kinds, from the NHS app to Zoom calls.

So it is perhaps not surprising that in spite of COVID – or even because of COVID – the UK is maintaining its lead as one of the world’s premier centres for tech of all kinds. 

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP


Jordan Lang
Jordan's field experience in SaaS sales gave him the opportunity to connect first-hand with leaders of companies from a variety of ecosystems. His understanding of the challenges organizations encounter guide his ability to communicate and relate to a wide range of professional audiences.