According to the Quantum Leap Report from Virgin Money, two out of five small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to use data science technologies to improve business operations. Almost a third (31%) plan to use artificial intelligence, and more than a quarter (26%) plan to use virtual reality.
Even though SMEs know they need to grow quickly for the future, 39 percent say they don’t have enough time to try out new technologies, and 30 percent say they don’t have enough money.
Kash Ahmad, head of business banking at Virgin Money, said, “Our research shows that SMEs are busy and don’t have a lot of time to invest. Because of this, they want a partner who can help them get financial information and solutions quickly and easily to help them grow in the future.”
Virgin Money talked to business owners from all over the UK about their experiences to learn more about how different technologies are making SMEs more valuable.
VR is used to make clothes.
In the area of making clothes, virtual reality for design, website features, and broadband are all useful technologies.
Hawthorn, for example, has started using 3D designs for clothes, which make it easier for manufacturers to get the fits and fabrics right before the clothes are made.
Rob Williams, director at Hawthorn, said, “This is very helpful for virtual prototyping, and it saves us and our customers time and money because we only make physical samples when we’re sure about the design.”
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“By streamlining these procedures, our company has become much more efficient, which is helping us meet our clients’ expectations.
“Virtual reality and digital fashion will soon have a big impact and give clothing businesses, manufacturers, and retailers a lot of benefits. As an example of how VR is starting to make an impact in the fashion industry, think about trying on sunglasses before buying. VR makes the user experience better by letting them see how a product would look on them before they buy it.
Broadband and the ability to use the Web
The Warm Welly Company, which is based in a rural area, has gotten a lot out of having good broadband. It has been setting up its website for online orders and improving its accounting.
Simon Wood, the founder of the company, said, “Since we started the business in 2012, technology has helped us greatly improve our website.” At first, our website wasn’t very fancy. It was mostly just a place to take orders. Now the site is easier to use and linked to our banking, Quickbooks accounting, Facebook, Google, and Royal Mail for marketing and shipping.
“Since we work in a rural area, the most important technology for us is wireless broadband that is fast and reliable. We are too far from the nearest fibre hub to get good cable broadband, and we can’t work without a good connection.
“In the future, we hope to use technology to improve how we track customers and website visitors. This will help us understand their journey better and increase the number of sales that are made as a result. If money were no object, we’d also like to improve stock control by using better barcode technology.
Since the epidemic, the hotel industry has been pushed to its limits, and it has learned that it needs new technologies to be successful.
“We’ve made a state-of-the-art system that fits in with the brand’s friendly and approachable vibe. It has modern technology without losing the human touch. Mollie’s Motel & Diner’s managing director, Darren Sweetland, said, “The result is an integrated ecosystem that is focused on the customer, easy for employees to learn, data-driven, and operationally frictionless, while still being strong and affordable as Mollie’s grows.”
“As our brand and market share grow, we will keep developing and investing in the best technologies to give our guests the best experience possible. One of the most important things that helped the business grow was to keep giving guests options, like self-service. Some guests like to check in and go through the whole guest journey without talking to anyone on the team, while others like to stop and talk about the area.
Virgin Money recently said that by the year 2050, SMEs will be run by avatars.