From education to employment

The UK’s Digital Transformation Capital

Person on a laptop

While we anticipate the working world is going to change markedly over the course of the next decade thanks to the growth in the numbers of millennials in the workforce, an ageing population, and changes in the physical environment such as remote employment, we fully expect the future will, in many aspects, be shaped by digital transformation – the introduction of digital technologies to all areas of a business.

In this article, we want to delve into digital transformation in the UK but first, take a look at how they’re changing the global landscape…

Around the world

Governments around the globe are witnessing the rapid overhaul of their technological systems, so much so that Seoul and Toronto are proposing an entire revamp of their systems from analogue to digital alternatives.

Interestingly, a report by Deloitte involving 12,000 government officials from 70 countries on digital transformation detailed that when asked “to what extent do you perceive digital technologies are disrupting the public sector” only 16 per cent suggested “not at all”. Furthermore, when asked “how much their domain area had been impacted by digital trends, 37 per cent responded, “to a great extent” with a further 39 responding “to a moderate extent.”

Perhaps most worryingly, when looking at things from a global perspective, is the fact that when asked whether they are confident about their organisation’s readiness to respond to digital trends only 4% strongly agreed.

If we rewind to June 2021, City AM reported that over 65% of UK companies planned to increase their spend on new technologies – with 54% of businesses suggesting that the adoption of said technologies helped them successfully overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. For 62% of businesses, meanwhile, investment into new technologies was anticipated by June 2022 at the latest.

Experts predict that investment in digital technologies could increase the UK’s GDP by 7%, equating to an additional £232 billion boost to the economy by 2040. “Digital processes in the public sector will create efficiency gains and cost savings of £75 billion” notes a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research & Virgin Media Business.

Where are businesses investing

At present, businesses which are already spending on digital are doing so in three key areas: hybrid working policies, digital delivery of services, and the adoption of data analytics and machine learning.

Incredibly, the ability to work from home could see an additional 3.8 million people enter the workforce suggests Virgin report. This figure includes 1.2 million parents, 1.5 million disabled individuals, 500,000 with caring responsibilities, and 600,000 who are currently out of work.

This is just one example of the immense possibilities offered by digital transformation – ultimately revamping businesses, employee satisfaction, and potentially reducing unemployment.

How digital transformation looks throughout the UK

To find out more about what digital transformation looks like throughout the United Kingdom, we’ve delved into Google Searches in 20 of the UK’s biggest cities over the last three months of 2021 looking at terms related to ‘digital transformation’.

In order to give a better understanding of what these numbers mean, we’ve analysed them in comparison with the total number of businesses in each city to give an accurate figure of the total number of searches per 1,000 businesses.

CityNumber of BusinessesNumber of Businesses Per 1,000Average Searches Per City OCT/NOV/DECAverage Searches Per 1,000 Businesses

The numbers in the analysis make for interesting reading, particularly when you consider that London was labelled the ‘digital capital of Europe’ in 2021, with the UK housing 100 tech unicorns(businesses valued at more than $1 billion), of which 60 are located in London.

According to search results, averaging across October, November, and December 2021, London comes in 19th out of 20cities in regard to interest in digital transformation, with Bradford the only city below, with 14.6 and 7.1 searches per 1,000 businesses per month, respectively.

At the top, meanwhile, Coventry leads the way in digital transformation with 58.4 searches per 1,000 businesses per month, closely followed by Newcastle and Bristol which average 46.7 and 40.9, respectively.

According to Coventry City Council’s ‘Digital Coventry’ report, “the Council’s role will be focussed on helping to identify the priorities that will lead to the biggest impacts on economic growth and public service reform including infrastructure to support digital innovation in the city, providing insight and delivering public service reform directly, including working in a more digital way as a Council and promoting work that will support every resident in the city to benefit from digital change.”

Newcastle, meanwhile, which plays home to software giants Sage, has invested heavily in its digital offering in recent years, with the recent announcement that Version 1, digital transformation and technology provider, is to bring 200 new jobs to the city further reiterating this.

Digital transformation notices and awards

In order to fully understand the situation in regard to digital transformation, we explored the number of notices published and contracts awarded in each of the 20 cities which mention the keyword ‘digital transformation’ in the title, description, and complete entry fields in 2021, using Supply2Gov data. These notices and awards include contracts published by local councils, government authorities, and private sector buyers.

By compiling this additional data, we can get a clearer picture of what digital transformation looks like across these cities in, detailing who’s searching for the term online, and who’s actively seeking it through the publication of tenders.

In order to give an accurate total score for ‘digital transformation’, we aligned the total number of searches per 1,000 businesses with the total number of notices and awards per 1,000 businesses.

Once tallied, these numbers were then given a percentage score of the value 1 relevant to their total numbers. The lowest and highest numbers for each variable were 0.047 and 0.952, respectively. These values were then consolidated to give a total digital transformation score.

CityWeighted Search ScoreWeighted Notice/Award ScoreTotal Digital Transformation Score

When analysing the picture post data consolidation, you can see that despite the most searches per 1,000 business, Coventry has in fact dropped considerably far down when notices & award data are included, ultimately impacting the ‘total digital transformation’ score.

Cardiff comes out on top when we look at weighted score for notices and awards but, it is in fact Bristol who ranks top, overall, closely followed by Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If you’re a business operating in these areas, perhaps you’ve already set about implementing a vast number of digital technologies to your business – if not, you may be the business who’s catering to others rising demands.

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