As a result of the pandemic, our use of technology changed overnight, with it playing a vital role in keeping us connected and our businesses functioning.
The pandemic, and the speed at which technology was thrust to the forefront of our lives, really put rocket boosters under elements of tech deployment that already had some momentum – for example, the shift to cashless payments and online shopping.
The technology industry has really got behind businesses and individuals during this time and we now have many more businesses much further along on their digital journeys than we otherwise would have. Crucially, we will see a recognition among leadership that digital is a strategic priority not an afterthought – an issue we have seen hamper digital transformation progress previously.
Necessity builds confidence
In the same thread, COVID-19 has nudged many individuals to use digital technologies for the first time. To take personal finance as an example, since the lockdown began, the volumes of people aged 40+ registering for digital banking significantly overtook those of 2019, and among those aged 70-79, the proportion of registrations in the week commencing the 22 April were three times greater than during the same week in 2019.
We have seen that, out of necessity, has come greater confidence. We recently conducted a survey into attitudes around technology during COVID-19 and we found that 31% of respondents said they had become more confident using digital technology in general since the restrictions on daily life have been in place in the UK.
The pandemic really put rocket boosters under elements of tech deployment that already had some momentum.
The tech sector must ensure that we maintain this momentum so that we can see further digital transformation across the economy and make the case for technology being at the heart of our recovery.
We are seeing great work already on the skills front, capitalising on the uptick in interest. In collaboration with industry, the Department for Education launched The Skills Toolkit, a new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people stay at home.
Cisco’s Networking Academy, one company contributing to the Skills Toolkit, has seen usage increase by 45% in the UK over the past year.
Transformation key to recovery
However, we must work closely with government in certain areas to ensure that we can continue to move in the right direction in terms of supporting digital transformation and keeping the UK at the heart of global digital economy.
Technology will sit at the heart of our
economic recovery. This is a time for forward-thinking policies that transform
the UK through innovation. Our digitally-led recovery starts here.