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An average of 33 working days a year is lost to working with outdated government online services PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 September 2015

UK businesses report spending more than a working month a year grappling with outdated government digital services, says a new study launched by global technology company EMC. Business leaders estimate five hours could be saved each week if the services were brought in line with the types of modern application commonplace in the private sector. Sixty two percent of respondents who access services online said that online services from government lack the ease of use and features commonplace with popular digital apps from Facebook to Amazon and beyond. EMC polled a nationally representative sample of 614 UK business decision makers via market research firm Opinium for its ‘Future of a Digital Government’ study.

Businesses also demanded additional digital services in key areas, including business support (39 percent) such as government funding, and health and safety (34 percent) including updates on the latest hygiene and safety regulations. Whilst online tax services saw the heaviest use by UK businesses, it was voted as the area in most need of drastic improvement (31 percent). Over the next two years, businesses want the following services to be introduced:

-       An online directory showing all available tax grants / breaks for businesses in one place (50 percent)
-       Personalised updates to changes in regulation / legislation (41 percent)
-       Online system with the ability to generate all the information / requirements a business needs to set up in one place using personalised data, e.g. local business rates (36 percent)
Personalised services

The study urges for the user experience to be prioritised to support business engagement with government online services. As an area for immediate improvement, half of business respondents requested the option to speak to someone if they needed to. Additional areas for improvement included simpler navigation and language (42 percent) and proactive reminders when forms/payment are due (38 percent).
Young digitally-savvy entrepreneurs

Almost 40 percent of UK businesses demanded more online services in the business support area, which includes getting advice on key topics, including imports and exports, business funding and more, from the Government. The results suggest a new generation of digitally-savvy young business minds, with over half (53 percent) of the overall proportion of those aged 18-34 calling for more online services in business support.
James Norman, Public Sector CIO, EMC UK & Ireland comments: “There is an obvious demand for a more digitally focused Government and whilst some progress has been made with Government Digital Services, there is still more that can be done in application transformation. Businesses need a more efficient way of interacting with Government and improving the accessibility of online services is one of them. Creating a digital foundation made of data and not paper will be critical for the business growth in the future.”
Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation says: “Small businesses are rapidly embracing digital opportunities and they are looking to their government to do the same with smarter more intuitive government services. Online tax returns are a positive move - as is a single online procurements portal.
“But what is striking in this recent research is the high demand for more services in business support and this is even higher amongst the younger, digitally-savvy business community. Government voucher programmes should replicate the success of Growth Vouchers, connecting small businesses with the advice and support they need via a simple online process. Looking ahead it will need to be tailored for a time-starved, tech-savvy entrepreneur audience who are calling for smarter services and more personalised updates concerning regulations, tax or advice.”

(Source - EMC Press Release)


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