Published 24 May 2021

London and the South East lead the way in UK’s digital transformation

By, Pulsant

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Southern businesses are better placed for digitalisation but some lack crucial elements for successful transformation

Maidenhead, UK – 25 May 2021: 61% of organisations in the South East and London say their location is advantageous to their digital transformation ambitions compared to just 41% in the rest of the UK, according to the latest research from Pulsant, the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists.

The research finds those in the South East are also slightly ahead of the rest of the UK in their digital transformation journeys with 69% saying they are ‘mostly’ digitalised compared to 64% across all other regions. Over half (53%) of business leaders in the South East feel positive about the opportunity of going digital as a result of the pandemic, compared to just 34% in the rest of the country.

While the research paints a positive picture for organisations in the South East, it also reveals some in region are still lacking crucial elements for successful digital transformation such as a clear strategy and digital leadership. The majority (84%) have a clear vision for digital transformation yet only 39% have an established digital transformation plan with executive sponsorship and are following it. A quarter (25%) do not have an assigned leader to drive digital transformation and 35% don’t know or are unsure if their infrastructure is fit for purpose for their future needs.

“There is a clear regional divide emerging across the UK as organisations strive for digital agility,” says Pulsant CTO Simon Michie. “The South East has better access to infrastructure, leadership and skills to drive change. Yet organisations cannot afford to be complacent about retaining talent as the rise of remote working could see skilled individuals finding opportunities elsewhere. Many businesses in the region have made great progress over the last 12 months but the focus should now be on identifying where external expertise and resource can help them future proof and reach their digital potential.”

Specific barriers to digital transformation are more prevalent outside of the South East which highlights why the region is approaching transformation more confidently and proactively. Under half (49%) of organisations in the South East believe the location of their organisation is a barrier to accessing talent compared to 62% in the rest of the UK – a figure which could change given the shift to remote working. Furthermore, only a fifth in the South East (20%) say required talent is not available in their region while 38% across the other regions say the same.

The research also reveals organisations in the South East are better placed for infrastructure and connectivity requirements. Less than half (49%) in the South East believe the location of their organisation is a barrier to accessing reliable IT infrastructure compared to 54% in the rest of the country. Only 45% in the South East believe their location is barrier to business connectivity while 59% in the rest of the UK say the same.

The research from Pulsant was conducted by independent research provider, Censuswide, amongst 200 IT decision-makers and 200 business leaders in UK mid-sized companies (200 – 2,500 employees).

The full research report ‘The Digital Divide’ can be downloaded here.