Changing times: Which technologies are really shaping the future of enterprise?

8 Mar 2018

Business leaders are embracing new technologies. Image: Shutterstock

A new survey from Fujitsu Ireland asks business leaders how technology is transforming their work.

Technology in a Transforming Ireland, a new report from Fujitsu Ireland, examines the areas in which business leaders and the general public are most excited in terms of technological developments, as well as their fears of global instability.

The cycle of technological advancement for both businesses and consumers can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, with new innovations brought to light at breakneck speed.

How prepared are we really for the high-tech future?

Technology driving change

According to the survey, 73pc of Irish business leaders say technology is driving positive change in their business and 52pc say that the ability to innovate and drive change is crucial to the future of their organisations. 59pc of leaders say technology will be crucial to help them overcome many of the socioeconomic issues they face today.

In terms of the top positive changes technology brings, 51pc of leaders cite improved operational efficiency, while 40pc say their employees’ productivity is boosted by new advances. 46pc of those surveyed said the cost savings were a major positive.

Which technologies are being embraced by Irish businesses?

There is a smorgasbord of new developments in terms of innovations, but some technologies are proving to be more popular than others. The cloud is far and away the most popular, with 35pc of leaders embracing the transformative features it brings, while automation comes in at 17pc followed by robotics at 7pc and virtual reality (VR) at 6pc.

Customer-facing solutions are most affected by augmented reality (AR), while management, operation and finance benefit from the cloud. In terms of the technologies leaders wish to implement in the future, the top three are: 5G, AR and AI capabilities.

The research suggests businesses have been working hard to create a solid, cloud-based infrastructure, allowing them to make the most of their data and the increased connectivity now available to them.

Leaders are reluctant when it comes to robotics, with 83pc having no plans to introduce this technology, mirrored by 83pc who did not intend to integrate VR into their strategy.

Comfort levels on the rise

The general public is also becoming more comfortable with technology, with 43pc of respondents saying they would be happy to deal with an automated tax return system and 60pc saying they would be OK with a robot judging their work or CV.

It’s not just technological change that impacts on business either – social upheaval can also have a major effect. Unsurprisingly, 38pc of leaders cited Brexit as the biggest challenge ahead for Ireland’s economic future, while 20pc say it is the biggest challenge their business is facing. Other worries include cybercrime threats and skills shortages.

CEO of Fujitsu Ireland, Tony O’Malley, told “Being a citizen and a businessperson in Ireland at the moment may feel a little like a rollercoaster ride – the economic and societal implications of Brexit, the ever-increasing skills gap, and confusion about the way careers and workplaces will evolve as a result of technological advances. It appears that uncertainty has become the new certainty.”

“Our Technology in a Transforming Ireland report highlights that technology will play a central role in driving our economy, society and businesses forward, with 49pc of business leaders admitting that technology will enable them to overcome many of the socioeconomic issues they are facing today, and that the ability to drive change and innovation in Ireland will be crucial to their organisations’ future (52pc).”

Data for the study was gathered from 912 members of the Irish public and senior business decision-makers, conducted through two separate studies and questionnaires on behalf of Fujitsu Ireland by iReach.

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