Pandemic accelerated digital adoption by Irish businesses, survey finds

Technology played key role in navigating pandemic, majority of Irish businesses say

Eighty-four per cent of business leaders believe supporting a hybrid workforce is a business challenge that technology can help address in the next three years. Photograph: iStock

Eighty-four per cent of business leaders believe supporting a hybrid workforce is a business challenge that technology can help address in the next three years. Photograph: iStock

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The rate of digital adoption among Irish businesses has accelerated as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a new survey, with 98 per cent of business leaders saying technology played a key role in navigating the pandemic.

But although 68 per cent of businesses said they had shortened the target window for digital transformation, up-front investment and a lack of in-house skills are the top two barriers to maintaining momentum.

The survey was developed and designed by Dell Technology in partnership with the Executive Institute, and questioned 147 business leaders across a wide range of sectors in March and April 2021 to understand changing attitudes towards technology in Ireland.

It highlighted both the opportunities presented by digital transformation and obstacles and trends around hybrid workforces and investment.

According to the survey, 84 per cent of business leaders believe supporting a hybrid workforce is a business challenge that technology can help address in the coming three years, followed by organisational resilience and cutting costs.

More than half said they would invest more in technology to maintain a competitive edge.

However, among the obstacles to adopting new technologies were up-front investment, a lack of in-house skills and expertise, and the absence of digital culture.

5G

More than two-thirds said 5G would play an important role in staying connected with their remote workforce, but just over half were not aware of the business benefits of the technology in the near term.

“By taking the learnings of the past year into account, business leaders can ensure that the advancements made through necessity can be built upon to foster a technology-enabled recovery. With close to seven in 10 businesses saying that they have shortened the target window for digital transformation, it is clear that leaders are intent on harnessing the power of technology to drive future growth,” said Jason Ward, vice-president and managing director of Dell Technologies in Ireland.

“5G will prove to be game-changer in an increasingly data-driven era. Despite business leaders valuing the benefit it can bring in connecting employees, 5G is more than just enhanced connectivity. It is converging with AI, edge computing, cloud and robotics to accelerate the fourth industrial revolution. With 75 per cent of business data to be processed at the edge by 2025, organisations need to begin assessing how 5G and edge computing can fit into their IT transformation programme and deliver real benefits on the road to recovery.”