Does the UK lag behind Europe in technology investment?

New research from Dell Technologies has found that businesses in the UK are trailing behind 12 other global countries currently investing in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and other high-performance technologies such as flash storage, required to support many other new technologies and applications.

The report is based on a survey of 3,800 business leaders across Europe, America and Asia and aims to help businesses understand what steps they need to take in order to remain competitive in their markets.

Businesses are in a time when emerging technologies like AI and  the Internet of Things (IoT), fueled by exponential increases in processing power, connectivity and data, will open-up new possibilities, but this research demonstrates that many in the UK aren’t moving fast enough, or going deep enough to overcome common barriers to operating as a successful digital business. Only 25% have ingrained digital in all they do, and 39% don’t know whether they’ll be able to compete over the next decade.

With only 16% of UK businesses investing in advanced AI, falling behind France (31%), Germany (26%), The Netherlands (17%) and Italy (22%), and when compared with the global average, the UK is behind on current investments in IoT (global 46%, UK 34%), capabilities for application acceleration (global 39%, UK 30%), converged infrastructure (Global 39%, UK 34%), high-performance computer technologies (global 36%, UK 29%) and VR/AR (Global 28%, UK 23%) – there is a clear indication that the UK needs to step up their investment in these technologies to keep pace.

Despite the lack of technology take-up, there is a clear understanding from businesses that in order to advance as an organisation, collaboration across the business is a must. While 87% believe that senior leaders should spearhead the digital change, 89% of UK respondents recommend securing employee buy-in on a company’s digital transformation and values, highlighting the need for a collaborative approach to the adoption of new technologies.

“The results demonstrate that UK businesses are placing less of a focus on investing in sophisticated technologies than not only our European counterparts but also many other global competitors,” said Dayne Turbitt, senior vice president, Enterprise, UK & Ireland, at Dell EMC.

“In a time when the UK is looking to make its own path outside of the EU, there has to be a greater investment in technologies that have the potential to deliver a significant competitive advantage. Greater collaboration within businesses in delivering this change is a crucial step in this process.”