UK Businesses Face Worsening Skills Crisis

UK Businesses Face Worsening Skills Crisis

Figures released today indicate that UK businesses continue to face up to a worsening skills crisis, despite an overall rise in job creation. The latest labour market figures, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveal that while there are 588,000 more people in work than this time last year, there has also been a 6% increase in the number of unfilled roles over the same period. These unfulfilled roles equate to around 756,000 vacancies and the on-going shortage in skilled workers is particularly acute in specialist areas such as IT and engineering. It has been estimated that addressing the shortage of skills in this area could generate £27bn per year for the UK economy from 2020. Steve Hill, director of external engagement at The Open University, commented: “The skills g... »

How to Build a Business Case for IT

Influence your business and get the best out of your IT IT is constantly evolving, but a company that invests in every minor improvement could end up wasting money. To convince your company that now is the right time to invest in IT you need to put together a persuasive business case. Identify a need. Before you can delve into the details of your proposal, you need to convince everyone that a need exists. Identify existing problems and explain how IT investments can solve them. If you convince people that your solution is reasonable from the beginning it will make the rest of your job easier. Relate the investment to stated company goals. In addition to solving problems that already exist, show that the IT investment you are proposing furthers existing company goals. This provides an addit... »

10 Ways to Improve Collaboration with IT

Stay competitive in the fast paced economy with these top collaboration tips For decentralized teams working in a fast-paced, idea-driven economy, calling a weekly meeting isn’t good enough. By leveraging IT, modern workplaces are staying competitive by re-imagining teamwork as a process of constant communication and collaboration. Google Apps. Google Apps is a collaborative work platform incorporating Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and more. Hardware and OS independent, Google Apps is a great choice for companies that want to avoid the cost of an IT department. Microsoft SkyDrive. SkyDrive provides a collaborative interface that works seamlessly with the Microsoft Office suite, allowing your employees to work together right away, without having to get used to new applications. ... »

Exploding the Myths of IT

By Fenner Pearson, managing director of Meantime IT. If you’re going to spend money on IT, chances are you’re shelling out a significant sum, and with every penny counting now more than ever it’s important to make sure you get it right first time. There are plenty of companies out there who are more than happy to extract as much of your hard-earned budget as they can while promising you the Titanic, when all you really need is a dinghy. And when it sinks, putting right an intricate and expansive system will eat away at even more of your budget. There’s no denying that some elements of IT are complex and best left to the experts.  But there are some simple guidelines to follow that will ensure you’re not left out of pocket and throwing good money after bad. Social media – it’s not rocket sc... »

Cloud Computing: the Wave of the Future

We are in the full throes of the Information Age now. A company without an adequate information technology infrastructure will almost certainly be left behind, as speed, efficiency and communication are the building blocks of business success. Information technology is here defined as hardware, software, networks and connections that allow communication, financial, marketing and other such tasks to take place faster than ever before. IT is, effectively, the superconductive glue that holds modern business together. It allows for a new field of business known as knowledge management, which, like a synthetic brain ensures that the right information, or "knowledge," gets to the right people in the right places at the right times, with few delays. The advent of cloud computing is a fu... »

IT & Telecoms SMEs Live “On the Breadline”

One in five (20%) small and medium-sized enterprises in the IT and telecoms industry are living ’on the breadline,’ with only a minimum amount of cash to cover emergencies, according to a study on the UK SME landscape commissioned by GE Capital, one of Europe’s leading providers of working capital and asset based lending. Figures show that a significant number of the sector’s SMEs would struggle to survive if they faced any immediate or unforeseen situations. Meanwhile, no businesses in the industry (0%) believe that they have a significant cash buffer and lending facilities to have a healthy cash position. According to the findings, the South West and the North West are the two regions that seem to be struggling most with available cashflow, with a fifth (22% and 20% respectively) of busi... »

IT and Telecoms SMEs Miss Out on Exchange Rates

Despite expectations that the pound will remain weak against the US dollar and Euro for the foreseeable future, small and medium-sized enterprises in the IT and telecoms sector are failing to take advantage of the current favourable export environment, according to a study released today by GE Capital. No SMEs in the IT and telecoms sector put overseas expansion in their top business priorities for the year and only a minority (15%) said that they expect their growth to come from international sales over the next three years, thus making them reliant on the fortunes of the UK economy. This is even less than in 2008, when 21% said overseas expansion was a priority, and 21% were planning on growing non-domestic sales. The findings, which are based on interviews with the owners and mangers of... »

Small Businesses Struggling to Invest in IT and Technology

Widespread budget cuts and concerns over cash flow are leaving small businesses struggling to invest in new technology and IT equipment, according to the results of a study released today. Budget cuts and cash flow concerns RentSmart questioned over 3,000 small businesses across the UK to evaluate post recessionary expenditure in business technologies. Despite the majority (73%) of respondents recognising the benefits of new technologies, over half (57%) revealed they have 50% less to invest in IT equipment for the office this year. 16% are facing a budget of three quarters the pre-recessionary level with the majority planning to spend only in the event of equipment failure rather than upgrade existing office technologies. The study reveals that cash flow concerns are behind the cuts. Over... »

Good Housekeeping

Information security concepts and terminology can seem intimidating to the average person. The following are the quickest and most effective ways of dealing with the issues. These can be thought of as ‘good housekeeping’. Work out what’s valuable Consider the effect of losing the following: Your VAT return (the day before you have to file it) Your accounts Your customer contact list Consider the effect of someone stealing: All your customer credit card numbers Details of the new product you’ve just spent 5 years designing Consider the effect of being unable to use your computer because of: Power cuts Theft Mystery technical glitches (at 5.30pm on a Friday, when the people who sold you the machine have left for the weekend) The Basics The following practices will hel... »