The Digital Transformation of Ireland

Irish organisations could tap into a $100 trillion market through successful Digital Transformation of their business models by 2020, following global and Irish research conducted by Microsoft. However, Irish businesses must successfully transform their business model in the next two years, or risk losing out.

Digital transformation is ushering in the “era of the customer”– creating the opportunity for exceptional, highly relevant customer experiences. This is what customers have come to expect in the digital age. Organisations need to engage customers in a new way, building natural, tailored experiences through insights delivered by data analytics and then drawing actionable insights that can deliver personalisation at scale.

Microsoft today has published its global and Irish Digital Transformation research findings. A Harvard Business Review report finds that while 80 percent of business leaders think their industry will be positively disrupted by Digital Transformation within the next three years, fewer than half have a digital strategy in place.

In addition, findings from Amárach Research, commissioned by Microsoft Ireland into 300 Irish organisations reveals that many firms struggle with what it means to be a digital business. It found that 80% of Irish organisations overestimate their digital readiness, with nearly half struggling to keep up with customers. Forty eight percent (48%) worry about other competitors digitally transforming before them, or new entrants entering their sector using technology to gain competitive advantage.

When asked how their organisation are developing strategies and procedures to improve their interaction with customers, empower their employees, optimise operations or reinvent their product and business model to help them digitally transform, the research revealed challenges and opportunities:

Transformation Anxiety: While 60% of Irish organisations saw themselves as digital disruptors, half worried about how long their current business models would last, believing they would be disrupted in two years. While over half (51%) have digital transformation strategies in place, a quarter are unsure as to what steps to take. 41% of Irish organisations highlight internal issues ranging from lack of the right skills to slow decision making by senior staff on implementation as major obstacles to digital transformation.

Understanding: Less than half (49%) understand Digital Transformation as leveraging technology to help them evolve quickly and a further 30% of organisations admitted that they did not know which technology to adopt to help them digitally transform.

Innovation driving from new business areas: Digital transformation is driving innovation from across the business with 51% saying their organisation has a clear or formal Digital Transformation strategy, that is being driven by the CEOs and board members. Only 23% saw the CIO as a driver, with less than 11% seeing the CFO as a key stakeholder.

Millennial’s time has come: Overall 65% of organisations said empowering employees was a priority. Digitally savvy employees in their 20’s and 30’s are now seen vital to successful Digital Transformation. 31% of companies had stepped up their recruitment activities to attract these staff. 74% of digitally savvy staff felt they had made a major contribution to enabling the organisation to digitally transform.

“It is time to transform or be transformed,” said Aisling Curtis, SMSP Director, Microsoft Ireland. “Disruption is inevitable, but the opportunities are enormous for Irish businesses willing to successfully evolve. Successful Digital Transformation is multidimensional, leveraging the availability of the Cloud, IoT, advanced analytics, mixed reality and artificial intelligence. Microsoft is helping businesses globally and in Ireland make that transition across employees, customers, operations and products. We understand companies’ needs for innovation, speed to market, and the importance of continually transforming and re-evaluating how business is done.”

“Microsoft works with customers across every industry to help them become digital companies in an integrated way across four key areas”, continues Curtis. “Empower your employees by designing a workplace to enable them to be mobile while keeping your organisation, people and information secure. Focus on engaging your customers, by building natural, tailored experiences that delight them and harness their data to create actionable insights delivering market success. Internally, optimise operations to improve service levels, and reduce costs with intelligent processes that anticipate the future. Finally, organisations must adapt to reinventing products and business models to harness data as a strategic asset, automate manual processes, delivering personalisation to customers. This is about innovating with new business models, services, products and experiences to differentiate and capture emerging opportunities.”

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