UK industry is beginning to move from automating existing processes to the fundamental transformation of business practices, according to a survey by the employers’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry.
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Jeremy Beale, head of the CBI’s e-business group, said, “Reducing cost is the number one thing that businesses are looking for. When you look at what they are doing on cost, they are trying to get a more efficient supply chain in place.”
But the CBI study, sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry, said the UK had reached “the end of the beginning” of the e-business road, with more fundamental transformations in prospect.
John Cridland, CBI deputy director general, welcomed the development of e-business, but warned, “More than 50% of companies expect legislation to impact on their ability to integrate electronic processes over the next two to three years so the government needs to ensure that regulation does not get in the way.”
The survey found more than two thirds of companies now deal with their customers online and half use remote access technologies and teleworking – compared to 50% and 10% in 2002 when the CBI last carried out an e-business survey.
It also found 41% of businesses had changed, re-tendered or restructured contracts with their IT suppliers during the past 12 months. Most respondents – 67% – said that reducing costs was a reason and 50% agreed that “poor service quality and inadequate support” persuaded them to alter their contracts.
Although 62% said they would consider using offshore outsourcers, 67% also said that a physical presence in the UK was a factor that they considered when awarding new contracts.
The CBI surveyed 314 companies in the UK.