Product development by UK businesses is being held back by concerns over cost and time implications, a lack of talent and access to the right technology, a new study suggests.
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A YouGov study commissioned by Appian involving 700 senior decision makers from a range of organisations looked at how UK businesses are investing in research and development in 2016.
It found that lack of investment, talent and appropriate technology were the main brakes on R&D. The report authors identified “a lack of awareness of the benefits of new technologies” to increase efficiencies within the product development process, and a reliance on traditional customer feedback.
Just over a quarter of respondents admitted they were not investing in R&D at all, despite more than two-thirds agreeing that the introduction of new products and services is either fairly, or very important to their success.
One in five said buy-in from senior staff was a block on resreach, while 23% of large businesses said getting finance was also an issue. Meanwhile, 27% of medium-sized businesses pointed to a lack of talent as a major barrier.
Commenting on the findings, Gary Barnett, chief analyst at Ovum, said: “For businesses to gain a competitive advantage and achieve sustainable growth they must identify new ways to serve customers.
“This means rapidly rolling out new products, and listening to customer reactions. Modern technologies and platforms exist that can accelerate cycles of R&D to help unlock insights into customer behaviours and preferences, which in turn help tailor new products and services to support the customer journey.”
Just one in four respondents said they collect customer feedback for R&D purposes using a digital customer relationship management platform. More popular were meetings and phone calls with customers. A quarter said they use paper feedback forms.
Samir Gulati, vice president of marketing at Appian, said: “The study results are troubling, as they reveal under-investment in innovation by a large proportion of UK businesses. This could have a detrimental effect on future business growth and the UK economy as a whole.
“Technology platforms can help in two significant ways: first, by making customer data more easily available in the context of R&D decision-making, and second, by accelerating the development and delivery processes for new products and services.”