Ireland is the middle of the perfect storm of robotics and AI, says IDA

17 May 2017184 Shares

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IDA reveals vision to make Ireland a global business services hub in an automated, digitally disrupted world.

Ireland should be positioned as a centre of excellence for the next phase of global business services (GBS), and be capable of delivering automation and AI projects worldwide.

The IDA has published a new report that reveals the GBS community in the country is evolving, and that companies such as Accenture and Xerox are transitioning to become global hubs for the next phase of automation.

‘We have to make sure we are prepared for the future, and, in an ever-changing world accelerated by digital disruption, it is vitally important for GBS centres to continually evolve’
– MARTIN SHANAHAN

Since the ’90s, the GBS sector in Ireland has grown substantially, with many original investment firms continuing to be significant employers.

Currently, there are more than 200 IDA client GBS centres in Ireland, employing 45,000 people.

Companies that fall under the GBS definition include Yahoo, Accenture, Novartis, Google, Coca-Cola, Oracle, UPS and Trend Micro, to name a few.

Is Ireland ready for the era of the robo-worker?

Ireland positioned to capture perfect storm of robotics and AI, says IDA

From left: Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, and Alastair Blair, country managing director for Accenture Ireland. Image: IDA

GBS takes in a panoply of industries ranging from technology to consumer goods, financial services and life sciences. These generally fit under any category where digital transformation is the order of the day and where processes are increasingly being automated.

The revolution in GBS is effectively a fusion of services, technology and people, and most GBS centres in Ireland can be categorised as finance, supply chain, customer support, sales and marketing, technical support and HR.

According to the report, between 4,500 and 6,750 roles in GBS companies in Ireland have already transitioned to new roles to accommodate the latest technologies, moving up the value chain.

GBS players have created up to 22,000 new jobs in recent years and have attracted investments worth up to €76m.

Among the business leaders surveyed for the report, 70pc felt that enabling market intelligence insights to improve competitiveness is a key driver for adopting digital technologies in their industries.

More than half (53pc) are already piloting digital transformation programmes.

“IDA Ireland continues to secure new GBS investments from the world’s leading companies as they leverage Ireland to build and manage their businesses in the EMEA region and beyond,” said Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland.

“However, we have to make sure we are prepared for the future, and, in an ever-changing world accelerated by digital disruption, it is vitally important for GBS centres to continually evolve, innovate and provide more value for their corporations.

“The GBS vision and roadmap for Ireland is a vital tool for the sector. The vision – ‘to be globally recognised as a centre of excellence for GBS, leading in specialised talent and innovative business services’ – has the necessary ambition to define where we want to be as a sector in Ireland, and how we want to be seen by both investors and competitors alike going forward,” said Shanahan.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com