According to the Quantum Leap Report from Virgin Money, two in five SMEs (39 percent) plan to utilize data science technologies to bolster business operations, while almost a third (31 percent) are looking to deploy AI, and over a quarter (26 percent) anticipate using virtual reality.
While SMEs are aware of the rapid growth required for the future, 39 percent believe a lack of time has prevented possible exploration of new tech, and 30 percent attributed a lack of money at the company’s disposal.
“Our research reveals that SMEs are busy and have a lack of time to invest, so they want a partner who can help them access financial information and solutions quickly and efficiently to help their future growth,” said Kash Ahmad, head of business banking at Virgin Money.
Delving deeper into how various technologies are driving value for SMEs, Virgin Money spoke with business owners from across the UK about their experiences.
VR for the apparel industry
Technologies useful in the apparel manufacturing industry include virtual reality for design, website functionality, and broadband.
Hawthorn, for instance, has embraced 3D clothing design to make it simpler for manufacturers to refine the fits and materials that will be utilized before beginning the real production of clothes.
According to Rob Williams, director at Hawthorn, “this is incredibly advantageous in virtual prototyping, and helps our clients and us to save time and money by only generating real prototypes when we’re confident in the design.”
“Streamlining procedures in this way increases our organizational efficiency and is crucial in meeting and surpassing client expectations.
“Virtual reality and digital fashion are emerging trends that will significantly influence and provide enormous advantages to clothing businesses, producers, and retailers. In the realm of fashion, VR is already beginning to make an appearance. Consider putting on sunglasses before you purchase. By letting customers see how an item would appear on them before buying it, virtual reality provides the customer with superior service.
Broadband capabilities and the web
The Warm Welly Company, a rural-based business, has benefited greatly from good internet in the meanwhile and has been building its bookkeeping and putting up its website for online purchases.
Simon Wood, the company’s creator, said: “Since we established the firm in 2012, technology has enabled us to significantly enhance our website. Our website was initially fairly simple and mostly served as a platform for receiving orders. Now that the site is connected to our banking, Quickbooks accounting, Facebook and Google for marketing, and Royal Mail for shipment, it is easier to access.
The most crucial technology for us is straightforward since we operate in a rural area: quick and dependable wireless broadband. Without a reliable connection, we cannot function since we are too distant from the closest fiber hub to get excellent cable internet.
“In the future, we want to use technology to enhance customer and website visitor monitoring, enabling us to better understand their journey and boost sales conversions. We’d also prefer better barcode technology to enhance stock management if money were no issue.
The hotel sector, whose resources have been particularly strained since the epidemic, has discovered that new technologies are essential to operations.
“We’ve developed a ground-breaking system that complements the brand’s welcoming and approachable atmosphere, providing cutting-edge technology without doing away with the human factor. “As Mollie’s scales its business, the outcome is an integrated ecosystem that is customer-focused, simple for staff to learn, data-driven, and operationally seamless while resilient and commercially affordable,” said Darren Sweetland, managing director at Mollie’s Motel & Diner.
“As our brand and footprint expand, we’ll keep innovating and putting money into the best technology to provide the best possible guest experience. Giving guests more options, such as self-service, has been one of the most crucial drivers of the company’s growth. Some individuals like checking in and going through the guest trip alone, while others prefer to stop and speak with our crew about the neighborhood.
In time for 2050, according to a recent Virgin Money prediction, SMEs will be managed by avatars.