Zoom-ma­nia key to us­ing tech to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Tom Rees

THE Gov­ern­ment plans to build on Zoom-ma­nia by draw­ing up policies to ac­cel­er­ate tech­nol­ogy adop­tion to help solve Bri­tain’s pro­duc­tiv­ity puz­zle.

Of­fi­cials are un­der­stood to be ex­plor­ing ways to re­vive com­pa­nies’ lag­ging dig­i­tal adop­tion rates amid hopes Covid-19 will force bosses to em­brace pro­duc­tiv­ity-boost­ing in­vest­ments.

Early stage dis­cus­sions on policies for the au­tumn in­cluded new grants, tax in­cen­tives and ed­u­cat­ing smaller firms to help en­cour­age tech adop­tion.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers want to “dou­ble down on the suc­cess of the fact ev­ery­one uses Zoom now”, a source said.

“We’ve seen huge take-up of dig­i­tal tools … the ques­tion is how to en­cour­age that step fur­ther to em­bed this change in lots of small busi­nesses,” said Dom Hal­las, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Coadec. “They’re us­ing Zoom to speak to their fam­ily but are they us­ing the best tech in their busi­nesses?”

A third of small and medium-sized busi­nesses have very low lev­els of digi­ti­sa­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by The

En­trepreneur­s Net­work. It said firms could see huge boosts to pro­duc­tiv­ity by em­brac­ing tech such as cloud com­put­ing, web-based ac­count­ing, e-com­merce and customer-fac­ing soft­ware.

A Trea­sury spokesman said: “We’re com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing busi­nesses to in­vest in tech­nolo­gies help­ing to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

Economists have warned Bri­tain is go­ing through its worst pro­duc­tiv­ity cri­sis for 250 years, suf­fer­ing a “lost decade” since the financial cri­sis.

Boris John­son held Cab­i­net meet­ings us­ing Zoom at the height of the lock­down

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