UK business is making good progress in the e-business arena according to a new report published today by DTI-led UK Online for Business, a partnership between government and industry that promotes the use of e-commerce amongst SME’s.
The International Benchmarking Study 2002, which examines the use of e-commerce in ten leading countries including Germany, Japan and the USA, revealed that half of businesses in the UK are ordering online. The study also found that businesses are adopting a more strategic approach and making more sophisticated use of new technologies.
‘Companies understand that e-business is no longer just about having a website or e-mail and that they must now focus on using technology to transform all their business processes,’ said E-commerce Minister Stephen Timms.
The study showed that the take up of e-business technology has remained steady against figures from last year, with 91% of business having access to the internet, and 80% having a website.
While the proportion of businesses using information and communication technology (ICT) has not increased greatly this year, UK business is reportedly making more sophisticated use of the technology available to them.
The study found that half of the firms surveyed now order goods and services online, a 52% increase on 2001; nearly two thirds (63%) of these companies already, or plan to, integrate services into their internal systems; and nearly one fifth of firms now pay online, an increase of nearly 20%.
The study also showed that firms are feeling the benefits of e-business. Some 87% of firms who adopted e-business solutions to reduce costs and improve efficiency found that ICT had realised a positive impact in this area. Confidence in ICT security had increased, as fewer firms (1%) were concerned about confidentiality and fraud.