While the majority of businesses agree that the introduction of new products and services is either fairly or very important to their success, over half of them do not use any type of IT software effectively to accelerate its research and development (R&D) process, a new study by YouGov has unveiled today.

The YouGov study, commissioned by Appian, interviewed 700 senior decision makers from small to large enterprises to explore the extent that British businesses value and are investing in research and development in 2016.

The study demonstrates that R&D does not share the same level of priority by the British business community as other growth markets around the world.  The main keys to improving R&D that were identified as part of the survey include the perception of senior decision makers around cost and time implications, as well as technology’s impact on those factors, as well as increasing investment in the form of people and money.

Respondents to the survey identified other keys to improving the R&D process:

·         Unlock the power of technology: Only a tenth believe IT software tools are accelerating the testing of new products “very effectively”, while nearly a quarter (22 per cent) characterize the use of these tools as not very or not at all effective. However, 41 per cent of respondents agree that access to more effective technology and IT software tools would improve the time-to-market of new products and services in their business

Additionally, survey revealed that more than half of businesses of all sizes utilize Microsoft Office based applications as its IT software used to manage the development of new products and services. An additional 18 per cent said their business does not use any tools or software

·         Modernize data collection:  Only a quarter (25 per cent) use digital customer relationship management for gathering data from customers to inform R&D processes. The majority of businesses rely on traditional methods such as customer/client meetings (50 per cent), outgoing calls (30 per cent), and feedback forms (28 per cent) Moreover, 17 per cent of respondents in large businesses said that the inability to act on insights gained from customer data quickly is an obstacle

·         Invest more aggressively: Of the large businesses surveyed, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of them believe legal or legislative concerns are a major barrier to R&D, with 23 per cent agreeing that lack off financial investment impedes product development

Samir Gulati, SVP of Marketing, Appian, said: “The study results are enlightening, as they reveal that using technology to support business innovation may not be top-of-mind for a large proportion of UK businesses. We have entered a super-connected world in which the majority of customer feedback exists digitally. It is essential that businesses capture and analyse this data, and quickly act on it in their development processes. 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.”

Gary Barnett, Chief Analyst, Software Group, 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.

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