79pc of Irish businesses plan to expand at home or abroad

18 Sep 2023

Image: © igor/Stock.adobe.com

Ireland is beating the global average in expansion plans, but most Irish IT leaders said new, stricter data sovereignty laws could impact their expansion goals.

Most Irish businesses are planning an expansion despite global economic uncertainty, according to a new report from US tech company Equinix.

The company surveyed more than 2,900 IT leaders worldwide, including more than 100 in Ireland. This report suggests that 79pc of Irish enterprises plan to expand either in Ireland or internationally.

Equinix said 42pc of Irish businesses in the survey aim to expand internationally in the next 12 months, which is up by 10pc from the previous year and 10pc higher than the global average.

The survey also suggests businesses are looking to technology such as cloud computing to support virtual expansion as well as physical expansion. The report claims that 44pc of businesses with expansion plans will hire IT staff in their new location, while 42pc will support the expansion virtually with cloud technology.

Equinix Ireland MD Peter Lantry said the report shows Irish businesses are feeling “far more confident” about their growth potential this year.

“With that, we are seeing a marked shift in how enterprises are viewing international expansion,” Lantry said. “It no longer needs to be a labour-intensive and costly move with boots on the ground.

“Digital infrastructure is enabling businesses to deploy virtually via hybrid multicloud, providing them with the flexibility to scale their operation up and down as needed, without the cost and commitment associated with establishing a physical presence.”

Despite the positive outlook on expansion, concerns were raised among IT leaders regarding data sovereignty laws, according to Equinix. Data sovereignty is the concept that data is subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which it is stored.

The survey suggests 84pc of Irish IT leaders feel the implementation of new, stricter laws in this area would impact their expansion plans.

Equinix senior global solutions architect John O’Donoghue said data sovereignty is a “critical element” in an expansion plan, but noted that it can become a “minefield” for organisations dealing with a changing legislative landscape.

“Business today is digital and it is vital for every enterprise – whether they are looking to expand internationally or comply with data legislation – to ensure they have the robust digital infrastructure in place to stand out,” O’Donoghue said.

Earlier this year, Equinix teamed up with UK-based Oxford Quantum Circuits to make one of the most powerful quantum computers available commercially to Irish businesses. The goal is to make quantum computing as a service available to Irish businesses by the end of this year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic