Survey shows Irish businesses are struggling with digital transformation

20 Oct 2017156 Shares

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Your digital strategy should be more than just shiny new tech. Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

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New research from Fujitsu shows that digital transformation can’t be achieved through technology alone.

A report published today (20 October) by Fujitsu Ireland shows that four in 10 business decision-makers in medium-to-large Irish firms surveyed have cancelled a digital project in the last two years at an average cost of €137,625, while 20pc of those surveyed had experienced a failed project that set their business back an average of €831,500.

While project failure rates in Ireland are lower than the average for all surveyed countries, the failed projects come at a higher individual cost than the global sum of €555,000.

Titled The Digital Transformation PACT, the report examines four strategic elements required from businesses to perform well in terms of digital transformation – people, actions, collaboration and technology (PACT).

‘You may have the brightest and most progressive people, but they will flounder in a culture that stifles innovation’
– TONY O’MALLEY

Customer-driven innovation

According to the report, it’s customers, not competitors, that are most influential in terms of driving the digital strategies of Irish companies forward. 70pc of Irish businesses surveyed said their customers expect them to be more digital, while 80pc believe they are behind international competitors in this regard.

Tony O’Malley, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland, said: “While Irish businesses recognise the need to adopt new technologies, there are still significant issues including costs and skills deficits, to be overcome by organisations as they seek to adapt to this changing environment.

“Many Irish organisations are now incorporating digital strategies into their overarching business strategies. However, to realise their digital vision, it’s crucial that businesses have the right breadth of skills, processes, partnerships and technology in place. As the business landscape continues to evolve, business leaders are aware that failure to adapt will result in being left behind as adaptive competitors reap the rewards of their agility.”

How do Irish businesses measure up?

People

The vast majority of Irish business leaders surveyed (95pc) said that they are taking steps to increase access to digital experts, with 60pc citing a clear lack of digital skills within their organisation. Upskilling staff is a key priority here, and 85pc of respondents also have a skills strategy that is longer than 12 months to account for new developments in areas that will affect the workplace, such as AI.

Actions

On a positive note, three-quarters of Irish business leaders say their organisation has a clearly defined digital strategy. There is a communication problem though, as only 45pc of respondents were confident their entire business was aware of said strategy. Globally, 75pc of digital projects are undertaken that have no links to the over-arching business strategy.

Collaboration

Working together looks to be a key strategy for mid to large-size Irish businesses going forward. As many as 65pc plan to undertake co-creation projects, and 31pc will be learning from dynamic young start-ups. In a surprising finding, 75pc of Irish respondents said they would be willing to share sensitive information as part of these co-creation plans.

Technology

A wide array of system implementations are in the works for Irish businesses, with 70pc planning to introduce AI technology to the workplace over the next 12 months. Increasing awareness of data protection will see 40pc of respondents spend on cybersecurity in the next year.

Skills and buy-in are a must

O’Malley concluded: “Simply adopting a strategy and implementing a process, is not enough without the requisite skill-set and buy-in from within your organisation. It is no longer enough just to have the best applications and devices; without talented and capable people to use them, they are meaningless. You may have the brightest and most progressive people, but they will flounder in a culture that stifles innovation.”

The research for this report was carried out by Censuswide in July and August of 2017, surveying 1,625 decision-makers within mid to large-sized businesses across the public sector, financial services, retail and manufacturing.

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com