Digitize or Die: Microsoft finds Irish companies risk missing digital opportunities

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Microsoft : Irish organizations need to join the digital transformation 

Charlie Taylor reported in the Irish Times (5th of May) that a recent study from Microsoft found that Irish companies that fail to implement digital strategy are in danger of missing out on opportunities afforded by the digital economy, a sector anticipated to be worth $100 trillion by 2025.  

Two years is the time frame Microsoft gave Irish companies to digitize in order to survive the upcoming tech revolution. The study found that confusion about how precisely to implement technologies like cloud computing or data analytics prevent organizations from digitally transforming.

The research showed that digital disruption from competition could effect up to half of all Irish businesses. Many of these companies don’t know how to begin altering strategy or implementing digital in order to remain competitive.

Amarach Research, the organization conducting the study of 300 Irish companies, found that the organizations themselves had a very different view of how they interacted with digital. 80 percent of companies overestimated their readiness for the changing digital landscape. Further, 60 percent perceived themselves as disrupters.

Although half of all companies included in the study have digital strategies implemented already, 25 percent felt unsure of how to approach digital transformation. A lack of digital skills and slow-decision making were a few of the reasons cited for an absence of digital strategy. 
Digital Transformation Code

‘Disrupt or be Disrupted’

Amarach’s study corresponds with a joint Microsoft/Harvard Business Review report which found that although 80 percent of senior-level leaders felt digital transformation would have a positive impact on their business over the next three years, less than half of those had a strategy in place to take advantage of these opportunities.

Digital transformation impacts businesses of all sizes. According to small and medium solutions and partners director at Microsoft Ireland, Aisling Curtis, the life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company 50 years ago would have been about 75 years. “Today, it is less than 15 years due to digital transformation,” she said.

Curtis said that although there is quite a bit of confusion on how to approach digital transformation globally, it is particularly problematic in Ireland. “Many organisations are ill-prepared for dealing with it.”

“People are unclear about what priorities or trends to respond to, and this is giving rise to a digital myopia with many organisations thinking they are disrupters, while the reality is that 44 per cent of the companies we surveyed said they were only just keeping up.”

In order to be competitive in a digital landscape, Curtis said that transformation has to be implemented at all levels-from customers, to employees, to operations.

She said “It is also about a cultural adoption, and this needs to come from the chief executive downwards.” The digital revolution needs to be addressed by companies, said Curtis. “It really is a case of disrupt or be disrupted.”

Looking towards the future, “it is likely that digital savvy employees will increasingly have a big influence on future strategy.”

Aisling Curtis is Director of Small Medium Solutions and Partner at Microsoft Ireland. She will be speaking at the DLR Summit on 8 June 2017.  

Aisling Curtis
Aisling Curtis, Microsoft.
Picture by Shane O’Neill Photography.

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