Virgin Media Business reveals the £1.2 billion digital opportunity for the education and healthcare sector

Major research report from Oxford Economics and Virgin Media Business finds that healthcare businesses could receive a financial boost if they fully develop their digital potential

Virgin Media Business today releases a major research report from Oxford Economics that outlines the huge potential of digital technologies to boost healthcare companies.

The report, The UK’s £92 billion Digital Opportunity, reveals that investment in digital technologies could provide a £1.2 billion boost to education and healthcare businesses, as well as creating over 57,000 new jobs.

The report was compiled by Oxford Economics, following interviews with senior executives at over 1,000 UK-based companies who together represent 470,000 workers.

Digital technologies are transforming the face of business and the wider UK economy, and it’s clear that healthcare companies see the huge potential that digital has for growth

When examining the impact of digital capabilities on their business, education and healthcare companies said they increased their revenues by 3.2% in the past year.

Looking at the next two years, education and healthcare companies are optimistic about the potential of digital to continue to drive growth. While digital is expected to result in some job losses, approximately 17,000 jobs from education and healthcare companies, 50% of education and healthcare businesses expect no jobs at all to become obsolete from the increasing use of digital.

Overall, expected job losses are outweighed by the number of employees companies anticipate hiring as a direct result of digital investments, which aggregated across the sector are expected to total 57,000 new jobs. When it comes to growth, if all education and healthcare companies had access to the best digital capabilities available, the economy could be boosted by a further £1.2 billion per year.

Digital leaders show the way

The research also found that only 9% of companies in the education and healthcare sector are digital leaders – defined as those firms who are prioritising investment in a broad range of digital capabilities: technology infrastructure, digital workforce, digital information, digital strategy and leadership, open and collaborative partnerships and digital customer engagements. Digital Leaders as a whole are more profitable, faster-growing and more confident in their ability to compete than other businesses. While on average digital leaders don’t spend any more money on technology than other firms, they spend it more wisely and achieve better results.

When asked how digital is providing benefits to the business, survey respondents from the education and healthcare sector cited factors such as online training facilities, better use of data, and social media engagement with customers.

Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: “Digital technologies are transforming the face of business and the wider UK economy, and it’s clear that education and healthcare companies see the huge potential that digital has for growth. However, the incredible pace of change means there is no place to hide, or room to stand still. Any business with ambitions to grow through digital needs to invest in the right technology and skills, while the government and industry have to deliver the infrastructure and support to help them. Over the coming years we’re investing £3 billion to bring the fastest broadband to more businesses of all sizes, to help them seize the chance to become digital leaders.”

John Cridland, CBI director-general, added: “The Virgin Media Business report reveals a huge digital opportunity for UK businesses. Both the public and private sectors have much to gain from harnessing the benefits of digital technology.

The UK is the tech capital of Europe, but digital advances never stop, so if we want it to stay ahead we need more young people studying computing to a higher level. Looking into the future, the proposed EU digital single market, if delivered well, would be great news for both business and consumers, reducing barriers to e-commerce across the continent.”

The UK is the tech capital of Europe, but digital advances never stop, so if we want it to stay ahead we need more young people studying computing to a higher level

And Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey MP, said: "The significant digital opportunity for businesses of all types and the economy as a whole is one that we can’t ignore.

Government will continue working alongside companies like Virgin Media to transform the UK’s digital capabilities and laying the foundations for a thriving, digitally-led future."

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