Pain points and priorities – surveying the tech sector

Mark Sykes, April 10, 2019 2 min read

This is a guest post from Mark Sykes, National Head of BDODrive, sponsors of Rising Stars

What lies behind the ambitions and mindsets of successful tech businesses as they strive for growth? And how do business leaders adapt to fast-moving and complex markets?

To uncover emerging growth trends of some of the UK’s fastest-growing tech companies, BDODrive surveyed over 100 high-growth UK businesses in Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Professional Services and Retail.

Sector specific

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results found differences in approach driven by the sub-sector the companies worked within. The biggest focus for businesses developing Edtech and Healthtech was to secure funding, whereas the focus for companies operating in tech and manufacturing was access to mentoring and knowledge from peers.

BDODrive found that in Financial Services, over 30% of tech business focused on skills and resources to drive growth, stating that finding appropriate talent, with the right software specialisms and industry knowledge, was a common issue. When surveying over 3,500 members of the UK tech industry for last year’s Tech Nation report, talent was indeed the challenge to growth most cited, across the country.

Future proofing

The complexity of growing a tech business becomes more apparent as we look to the future. When asked about key focus areas for maintaining growth, over 32% of manufacturing businesses said they were choosing to ensure the establishment of the right leadership structures, over choosing to invest in disruption, perhaps in order to navigate a potentially complex economic future.

In Professional Services, digital disruptors are quickly overtaking incumbent suppliers. Over 26% of the tech businesses we surveyed, are choosing to future-proof their business by building better channels to market, seeking to secure market share quickly in a fast changing-environment.

As well as sector differences, we also anticipate regional differentiators, both within the UK and on a global level. Despite the advent of flexible working and the ability to access the world from any coffee shop with wifi, the reality is that access to funding, the need for peer mentoring and access to skills means that major cities continue to be magnetic to business. 

Disruptive advantage

According to our survey, the one thing that all tech companies shared regardless of sub-sector, was the need to build a culture that encourages disruption and maintains agility in the drive for growth. Complex sector needs, combined with constant shifts in technology, push tech businesses in particular to remain more agile and innovative, and this is an edge that an agile tech company can have over their bigger, older incumbent competitors. 

Startups have to be able to develop and test ideas quickly and cheaply, and these efficient principles can apply across numerous dimensions of a business, from decision-making to risk management.

To help businesses understand and make the most of the intricacies of their area of operations, BDO launched the Accelerate Programme to help businesses identify their needs and barriers to growth, and develop clear steps towards achieving their vision.  Our workshops are designed to be focused, to help time precious founders, whilst delivering value for money and clear benefits that will also ensure the UK is the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

Rising Stars, Early Stage