Digital transformation failure could see a third of Irish companies shut down by 2020

12 Oct 2018

Image: Ruslan Grumble/Shutterstock

New research from Ricoh shows many organisations are not in a position to digitally transform effectively.

For many business leaders, digital transformation is a priority, but new research from a survey commissioned by Ricoh shows that 61pc of organisations in Ireland are not in a good position to take advantage of new digital technologies.

The survey was part of a wider study, including 3,300 business leaders from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey and the UK.

Conducted by Coleman Parkes, the survey of 150 Irish business leaders found that 35pc of them fear their organisations will go out of business by 2020 if they fail to innovate in response to digital changes.

Digital transformation is an intimidating task

While 94pc of the leaders surveyed recognise the importance of digital transformation to their business, many are not prepared to leverage new technology to boost their enterprises. The participants cited competitive advantage, increased productivity, improving growth and winning new customers as the top benefits to be gleaned from innovation.

88pc of leaders in Ireland say increased automation will drive major change in their organisations. Of that group, less than a third feel ready for automation and 29pc said they will not be prepared even in two years’ time.

Almost a quarter of the business professionals surveyed said they would not be able to react quickly enough to changing Government regulations in the next two years and 35pc of respondents called for more support from the Government to implement innovation strategies.

43pc of Irish business leaders believe greater access to digital technologies would make their businesses more innovative and some are currently exploring culture changes to improve innovation within their organisations. 55pc of leaders are looking at setting up employee innovation workshops in order to teach employees how to generate new ideas.

The other two most popular approaches for consideration are the creation of safe spaces for experimentation to trial new ideas or processes, and the encouragement of employees to be involved in projects outside of their everyday remit.

The time for action is now

Gary Hopwood, managing director at Ricoh Ireland, said: “It’s very worrying that the future of so many Irish organisations are [sic] at risk because of their failure to innovate. Change is happening and it’s happening now, which is why it’s vital that business leaders take action as soon as possible and formulate a strategy that enables them to embrace digital disruption.

“Organisations can’t afford to stand still if they want to remain competitive and continue to grow. They must think about how they are empowering employees, supporting creativity, helping customers and boosting business performance. While every company is individual in terms of their needs, the need to innovate is crucial for all organisations.”

David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said: “While the research is something of a wake-up call, the good news is that SMB leaders are acutely aware of the change happening in their markets and of the need to innovate.

“Now is the time to take a proactive stance and face disruption head-on. Any business that misjudges how to adapt their processes and strategies risks leaving their future open to chance.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects