Three quarters of business lack a digital transformation strategy

The majority of business owners say they have a desire to embrace digital technologies in order to transform their businesses, according to a new survey.

Despite recognition of the fact that digital transformation can bring huge rewards however, only around a quarter of businesses have a digital transformation strategy in place.

The study, by converged IT and communications provider Daisy, found that 90% of large enterprises and 88% of SMEs signalled a desire to embrace new technologies to enhance their businesses. Just over half (52%) of larger firms and 40% of SMEs said they were looking to digitise their back and front office functions as quickly as possible.

Despite this, nearly three quarters (73%) of SMEs and nearly half (45%) of large enterprises said they were not taking effective steps to take full advantage of the benefits of digitisation and had no firm strategy in place.

The costs of digitisation were cited as a barrier to implementation. Some 53% of SMEs said that a lack of time and resources represented the biggest challenge to digital transformation. This was followed by a lack of business direction/strategy (cited by 39%) and an internal lack of knowledge and skills (36%).

Large companies were hampered by existing legacy technology (54%), which can be costly and time-consuming to replace. 43% of large enterprises cited an internal lack of knowledge and skills as the biggest challenge and 32% cited time and resources.

There are challenges but the rewards can be substantial, affecting a transformation without the need for a more radical business restructuring. Greater efficiency and cost savings were cited as the greatest driver for digital transformation by 59% of large enterprises and more than two thirds (67%) of SMEs.

Other drivers were technological innovations (cited by 64% of large enterprises and 65% of SMEs), which bring benefits to customers and enable a firm to stay ahead of the competition.

Where technological investment is planned over the next year, the greatest priorities for larger enterprises were in cloud technology and big data. SMEs meanwhile, were more focused on mobile technologies.

By Phil Smith

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