UK firms come to embrace Internet

The Internet has changed UK industry but many firms need to learn more about bringing shoppers online, says the CBI. Its survey of 500 firms found many were using new forms of online media, like podcasts, with companies investing close to £300,000 a year on technology. The report, co-produced by Google, said UK firms invested a total of £10.6bn yearly on net-based systems. It is predicted this will top £13bn in 2009. CBI boss Richard Lambert said the Internet was bringing major changes. 'Serious investment' "Firms are learning more about harnessing the Internet to benefit their staff, their customers and their future prospects," he said. "Serious investment is going into new Internet technologies and this is set to increase." The report, published in advance of the CBI's annual conference, found that 56% of firms considered the Internet had had a "substantial" or "revolutionary" impact on their industry. The survey also found that 60% of consumers believed the internet had given them more power, while 43% believed that companies were becoming more accountable as a result of the new technology. Nikesh Arora, vice-president of European operations at Google, said British firms were more aware of how the Internet could help their business than those on mainland Europe. However, half the organisations polled said they did not know what impact their Internet strategy had had, while one-third said limited understanding was holding back further investment.

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