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Analysis: how technology is used by the UK’s fastest growing businesses

Last week, we published our report Tech Impact ’19: How technology is used by the UK’s fastest growing businesses. In this blog post, we provide some more detail about why, how we did it and what the results show.

Understanding what will help you grow is valuable information for any business. It’s not always easy to find out, though, or to put into practice if you do find it out. Not only can different variable get in the way, but changing processes or working practices is rarely straightforward.

Technology, however, is one area in which benefits can be reaped relatively easily. The scope of impact is clear based on features and, similarly, new working processes can be defined – or at least shaped – based on functionality.

Today, there are few businesses that operate without computers or systems of one sort or other. While many of the tools we use simply help us to carry out straightforward tasks, some actively help to grow sales and drive businesses forward. The question for any business considering this should be: what are the technologies that could most help us grow?

The approach

As a provider of market intelligence for technology businesses, IQBlade is ideally placed to address that question. Our platform analyses over 600,000 UK companies and pulls in data from more sources than any other, covering thins like financial performance, online activity and technologies used.

By feeding in data from the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 – the list of the fastest growing businesses in the UK – we were able to compare the technologies used by the average UK company with those that are used by the UK’s fastest growing businesses. We were able to look at the impact different technologies have on business performance and identify the businesses that are harnessing technology most effectively.

The results

The thing that is perhaps the most noticeable is that there is a big overlap in the types of technologies used and the relative extents to which they are used. Indeed, most of the technologies that are used most by both the UK’s fastest growing companies and the rest are the same.

The reason for this is that they are necessary, operational and underpin the way that much business is delivered across the globe today. They include things like Operating Systems & Computing Languages, Web & Portal Technology and Search Engines.

The technologies that are among the most used by the fastest growing businesses but not the rest, though, are those technologies that deal in delivering competitive advantage. They help with making sense of data, marketing and delivering businesses efficiencies. Their impact is reflected not only by their greater use among the UK’s fastest growing businesses, but also by the difference in sales and sales growth between the Fast Track 100 businesses those that use them and those that do not.

Most notably, Business Intelligence (BI) & Visualisation Software – the likes of Progress Software, Tableau, QlikView – is used by 60.5% of Fast Track 100 business and is so by a huge 349.4% more than it is by non-Fast Track 100 businesses. This tech category deals with analysing data and visualising it to show patterns and trends that would otherwise not be possible to see. It is no surprise, therefore, that businesses that use BI & Visualisation Software grow significantly more quickly than those that don’t – figures we look at in more detail in our report.

The two other most notable tech categories for driving sales and/or growth are Enterprise Business Solutions – which are designed to optimise processes and make businesses run more efficiently and are dominated by Microsoft, and Application Development & Management, which helps to consolidate high sales in post-growth businesses and includes the likes of New Relic, AngularJS and Atlassian.


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