UK businesses’ risk appetite is climbing, new research shows

UK businesses’ appetite for tech investment is growing, research from Studio Graphene has revealed.

The London-based digital agency commissioned an independent survey of 752 senior decision-makers within UK businesses. It found that the majority of businesses (58%) said they expect their IT spend to grow in the coming 12 months.

However, small businesses are set to be more modest with their spending plans than their more established counterparts – 48% of businesses with less than 50 employees said they would invest more heavily in tech in 2022, compared to 77% of businesses with headcounts over 250.

One in two (49%) decision-makers said their business intends to invest in a new area of technology that it has not used before, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data or cloud computing.

Studio Graphene’s research showed that enthusiasm for experimenting with new technologies is also growing, with two in five (42%) respondents saying their organisation’s risk appetite has increased significantly over the past 12 months. At 64%, large businesses were much more likely to hold this view than small firms (28%).

Elsewhere, steps are being taken to promote a culture of innovation. Just shy of half (47%) of business leaders said their company introduced new practices over the past 12 months to encourage employees to share and implement ideas in a hybrid setting.

Day-to-day IT issues, however, are standing in the way of progress: 42% of all businesses said that the amount of time and resource they spend on fixing basic tech issues is impeding real innovation.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “After a period of stagnation, where businesses focussed their efforts on ironing out teething issues relating to remote and hybrid working, it’s fantastic to see renewed enthusiasm for tech investment.

“Companies are clearly moving away from the mantra ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Instead, they are looking to explore how modern technologies can improve operations and better satisfy both employees and customers. Investing in previously unexplored solutions always carries risk, but it’s worth it if these products can elevate a business’ productivity, create new revenue streams, or better serve customers.

“Our research indicates that 2022 is going to be an exciting year for innovation. As businesses get more comfortable with technology that makes remote working possible, they can truly start transforming their business through more ambitious investments in quality solutions.”