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IT systems integration and business intelligence are greatest barriers to growth amongst upper mid-sized UK organisations

Source and Advanced Business Solutions survey of nearly 100 mid-sized organisations highlights key barriers to growth

6 December 2011 – IT systems integration and business intelligence are the biggest barriers to growth for upper mid-sized UK organisations, according to a survey by (Source) in partnership with Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced). Source surveyed senior IT, finance and human resources professionals from nearly 100 upper mid-sized organisations.

The survey, ‘Firing the engines of growth’, was carried out in response to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI’s) recently-published report which claims that upper mid-sized businesses (those with 250 - 500 employees) are Britain’s “forgotten army”. The Source survey investigated the barriers to growth faced by upper mid-sized organisations, which are also the most productive sector of the economy, and what might be done to overcome these barriers.

The findings highlight that integration of IT systems is seen as the biggest operational barrier to growth: 59% of organisations said this was among their top three concerns and 27% said it was their single biggest concern. Most admitted that their IT systems have been implemented on an ad hoc and piecemeal basis with little thought for organisation-wide system integration.

Business intelligence - described as intelligent, automated analysis of data to drive decisions about the future - is the second biggest operational concern (18% of those surveyed said this was their top concern) with procurement proving the third biggest concern (put top by 14% of respondents). Other key operational barriers cited include document management and planning and budgeting.

Simon Fowler, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial), says, “It is clear from the research that upper mid-sized UK organisations are struggling to grow due to issues with their IT systems, processes and people. Organisations are lacking the foundation for growth with lack of integration between IT systems proving the biggest growth barrier.”

The survey findings suggest that although upper mid-sized organisations can identify their key barriers to growth, they are not investing in solutions to these barriers due to a few key reasons. The first is that other organisational factors are being considered more important (cited by 79% of respondents). Secondly, there is lack of time to address the issues (mentioned by 73% of respondents) and thirdly, there is lack of money (cited by 50% of those surveyed).

When asked whether Government funds would encourage upper mid-sized organisations to invest in solutions to overcome their growth barriers, the majority of respondents (72%) highlighted that using Government funds for tax breaks would encourage them to invest. Respondents felt that Government funds could also be used to provide access to mid-sized business and IT systems advice, to enable senior management training and to offer loans to mid-sized organisations.

Fowler says, “According to the CBI, mid-sized organisations generate 22% of economic revenue and have the potential to inject up to £50 billion into the economy by 2020 despite representing less than 1% of all UK businesses. To achieve their full potential, it is vital for mid-sized organisations, especially upper mid-sized companies, to recognise and address their key barriers to growth. It’s also important for the Government to deliver funds and to provide the necessary support to enable investment before mid-sized organisations become the UK’s biggest economical disappointment.”


Notes to editor

To receive a copy of the ‘Firing the engines of growth’ research, please email

About is a leading provider of information about the market for management consulting. Set up in 2007 and based in London, Source serves both consulting firms and their clients with expert analysis, research and reporting. We draw not only on our extensive in-house experience, but also on the breadth of our relationships with both suppliers and buyers. All of our work is underpinned by our core values of intelligence, integrity, efficiency and transparency. is owned by Source Information Services Ltd, an independent company, which was founded by Fiona Czerniawska and Joy Burnford. Fiona is one of the world's leading experts on the consulting industry. She has written numerous books on the industry including: The Intelligent Client and The Economist books, Business Consulting: A Guide to How it Works and How to Make it Work and Buying Professional Services. Joy Burnford was Marketing and Operations Director at the UK Management Consultancies Association between 2003 and 2010, and prior to that worked for PA Consulting Group and has extensive experience of marketing consulting services.

About Advanced Business Solutions

Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced) provides leading integrated business applications and services that enable public, private and third sector organisations to retain control, improve visibility and gain efficiencies whilst continually improving corporate performance. Advanced prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their evolving needs.

Advanced’s software systems comprise core accounting/financial management, procurement, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions to extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, human resource and payroll departments. These can be delivered as a managed or bureau service.

Customers are from both the public and private sectors and include Companies House, Newcastle City Council, WH Smith, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aer Lingus, National Express Group, DFS, RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.

Advanced Business Solutions is a division of Advanced Computer Software Group plc, a leading supplier of software and IT services to the health, care and business services sectors.


Liz Ebbrell and Angela Mycock, Advanced Computer Software Group

+44(0)1625 856505