What’s preventing businesses from embracing digital transformation?

31 Aug 2018

Image: MemoryMan

Dejan Ćušić unpacks the findings of Comtrade Digital Services’ Digital Transformation Report and considers what is holding Irish companies back.

Digital transformation is not a new phenomenon. Over recent years, businesses across every industry have been coming to terms with the move towards a digital focus, with new technologies and the importance of user experience driving change. But just how are Irish companies performing?

In order to understand how Irish organisations in particular are approaching digital transformation, Comtrade Digital Services surveyed 133 senior IT decision-makers and explored the findings in our latest white paper.

The benefits of embracing digital transformation are apparent and without doubt. The most significant advantages include better business processes (68pc), improved customer satisfaction/user experience (65pc), improved employee productivity (47pc) and, crucially, revenue growth (45pc).

In fact, out of those companies who have embarked on a digital transformation journey, more than 60pc have seen their profits increase. Yet, despite the positive impact of digital transformation on achieving core objectives and on a company’s bottom line, almost half (48pc) of organisations have no official or formal plan in place for approaching the transformation.

Overcoming the barriers to transformation

Given the benefits, it may seem startling that businesses still seem reluctant to focus on digital transformation. We also explored deeper to find the main barriers to change. Unsurprisingly, financial limitations (56pc) were identified as the main hurdle. The average cost of a digital transformation project for Irish companies is €455,000, a major investment that many companies feel they cannot afford.

However, given growing consumer demands, companies also cannot afford to not invest in digital transformation. So, what do they need to do?

Planning is key and smart investment in the future of the business will in turn create new revenue streams. Adopting a well-thought-out approach will also allow companies to overcome other barriers including a lack of necessary knowledge (53pc) and restrictive company culture (49pc).

‘The average cost of a digital transformation project for Irish companies is €455,000, a major investment that many companies feel they cannot afford’

As companies embark upon their digital transformation journey, we would also recommend they implement quality assurance (QA) processes from the moment a project is conceived and throughout the process. More than 40pc of organisations do not have a QA team despite it being relevant to them. In an age where users will quickly abandon a digital service at the first sign of confusion or delay, QA is therefore an essential element.

Another area that innovative companies are keeping a close eye on concerns the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within the field of data analytics, which is increasing all the time. In addition to helping companies better utilise resources, AI can be a powerful tool for objective decision-making. However, it appears that the potential of AI in this regard has not yet been fully realised, with a quarter of companies not relying at all on AI or data analytics when it comes to decision-making, and a further 25pc basing less than 10pc of their decisions on AI or analytics.

The findings from our survey show that many Irish organisations remain unprepared for digital transformation, despite the evident rewards it brings. While there are limitations to consider, including financial constraints, those who are embracing change are taking the necessary steps to future-proof their business and will ultimately make it more profitable.

The key for companies nowadays is to be agile and innovative. Embracing digital transformation is crucial for gaining the competitive edge, and the time for investment is now.

By Dejan Ćušić

Dejan Ćušić is business director for Ireland and the UK at Comtrade Digital Services. With years of experience in the IT industry, he now leads Comtrade’s expansion within the UK and Ireland markets. He has been at Comtrade for more than 15 years, delivering innovative solutions to clients and assisting them in their digital transformation journey.

Download the full Comtrade Digital Services Digital Transformation Report here.