A survey is being launched today (Wednesday 11 June) to poll around 2,000 companies across the Highlands and Islands on how technology and access to the web impacts on how they do business.
The research, which is part of a Scotland wide project, aims to measure current progress in the digital economy and the extent to which businesses are using and exploiting online opportunities.
The work is being carried out by IFF Research, which will be contacting businesses from a range of sectors and of various sizes, to quiz them on topics including what technology they have, what kinds of work they do online and any benefits they see. The survey will also seek views on what barriers exist to stop firms making more use of technology.
The research is being undertaken on behalf of the Scottish Government in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland. The results will provide key baseline information for Digital Scotland, a partnership including representation from the public and private sectors. It will be used to measure progress as Scotland takes steps to take full advantage of the economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by the digital age.
Figures will be used to shape how the research partners work with the private sector to create a world class digital economy.
Carroll Buxton, HIE’s Regional Development Director, said: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise is currently managing a £146m infrastructure project to roll out superfast fibre broadband services to homes and businesses across the region. At the same time we are working with people to make the best of the technology they have now – providing support and training for topics including website design, social media, and reaching new international markets.
“Our aim is to ensure that communities and businesses in the Highlands and Islands, have the confidence, capabilities and skills to take full advantage of the opportunities digital can bring. By tracking these figures over time we can provide data to monitor progress.”
Senior research officer at HIE, Catherine MacNeil, explained that businesses are being selected at random and she is encouraging all those approached to take part. She commented: “This work will provide vital information on how businesses are using the internet, technology and software to deliver products and services. We want to assess where the benefits lie and what is needed to make it easier for more people to use technology in the future.”
IFF Research is aiming to carry out the interviews over the coming weeks and findings are expected in the Autumn.