IMPROVEMENT: Better digital skills helping North West companies

Lloyds TSB Yorkshire area director, Martyn Kendrick.
Lloyds TSB Yorkshire area director, Martyn Kendrick.

Organisations in the North West have demonstrated an above-average improvement in digital skills, according to the second annual Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index.

The index, in association with Accenture and digital skills charity Go ON UK, is the only report of its kind in the UK and tracks the level of digital adoption of SMEs and charities, for example running a website, using e-commerce, maintaining a social media presence or using online banking tools.

It’s pleasing to see an upturn in the number of organisations across the North West embracing digital technology.

Martyn Kendrick

The index gives a benchmark score to show the extent of digital skills for small and medium sized businesses and charities across the UK.

This year the North West demonstrated the highest rise across all regions, rising by nine points to 100, indicating a significant increase in digital skills. Key areas of improvement have been businesses’ and charities’ online presence.

Since last year, there has been a six per cent drop in the number of organisations without any access to the internet (now 12 per cent), coupled with a seven per cent increase in the number of organisations operating a website, rising to 58 per cent this year.

Significantly, there has been an improvement in perceptions towards the benefits of digital skills.

The number who said that digital skills had helped them to reach more customers had risen from 16 per cent in 2014 to 44 per cent in 2015.

Martyn Kendrick, Lloyds area director for SME Banking in the North West, said: “It’s pleasing to see an upturn in the number of organisations across the North West embracing digital technology. However, there’s still room for business and charities to do more.

“Here at Lloyds Bank, we want to help businesses by encouraging them to recognise that an online presence can unlock growth potential in a way that traditional communication does not allow.

“We need to continue to encourage organisations in the North West to invest in the appropriate technology and devote time to building relevant digital skills.

“In doing so, we will ensure all businesses are afforded the same opportunities to capitalise on growth.”