Irish organisations lag international peers in move to hybrid tech environment, survey says

Data security and skills shortage among major concerns for companies

Almost half large Irish organisations are planning to move to a hybrid technology environment as companies look for ways to address issues such as data security, and making better use of their data.

But Irish enterprises have lagged behind their European and US counterparts in adopting hybrid IT, the research from Digital Realty and Hewlett Packard Enterprise found. Some 36 per cent of Irish-headquartered companies said they planned to move to a mix of on-premises and off-premises cloud and hosted resources, versus 67 per cent of organisations that are headquartered outside the country.

“Irish headquartered companies tend to be more conservative in moving,” said Séamus Dunne, managing director of Digital Realty Ireland. “One of the biggest things for me here is that they’re still using their own server rooms. They use it to house their IT infrastructure; to move that is hard. Migration to cloud services is much lower in Ireland than it is in the rest of Europe, let alone the United States. The intent is to move faster now, probably accelerated by the pandemic.”

The survey questioned 150 senior IT and business decision makers on the opportunities and challenges that are driving large enterprises in digital and IT transformation.


Skills shortages also pose a risk to Irish enterprises looking to drive digital transformation, with security, compliance, and cloud migrations a particular concern.

“It’s a problem everywhere, but it seems to be called out a little more than maybe some other countries in Europe,” Mr Dunne said. “Decision makers in Ireland have relatively small organisations they need to rely on people with expertise who’ve done it before. Nobody’s going to do this on their own and the IT group in a business will make big migrations, only a few times it’s not a regular occurrence.”

A third of Irish enterprises currently use systems integrators or managed hosting providers to manage their infrastructure, and a fifth said they plan to use a data centre or co-location provider to support the deployment of their hybrid IT strategy. There are also certain workloads that cannot move to the public cloud, leaving organisations with a co-located approach as the only option.

Almost two thirds of companies said they were facing challenges in data security, while 28 per cent said managing their organisations’ growing data burden was a priority and 36 per cent want to make much better use of their organisation’s data. One in five are looking at how to deal with data regulation across different territories.

More than half said they expect the total number of IT and business applications deployed by their organisation to grow between 11 per cent and 50 per cent in the next 12 months. Working from home is also a key consideration, with 39 per cent saying optimising connectivity at branch locations or employees working from home was important.

“The pandemic created this inflection point where people had to immediately implement digital transformation cloud transformation strategies, you know that they weren’t necessarily ready to do and now it’s about firming up on those strategies and putting more thought and structure behind them,” said head of enterprise, commercial and public sector at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Ireland Enda Cusack.

Companies that fail to keep up, however, face larger problems.

“If you don’t transform digitally ... you’re probably going out of business. You can’t you can’t compete as a bank, as a car company, as a retailer, as a tax revenue service, as an airline without digital services. And if you’re behind you’re going out of business,” said Mr Dunne. “The risk is, if you don’t do something, it’s existential. It’s actually a bigger risk than doing something and it’s not quite working.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist