42% of Irish firms planning global expansion

Equinix research has found that businesses in Ireland are more likely to be pursuing international expansion than the average business globally.

More than two-in-five (42%) of Irish businesses are planning for international expansion in the next 12 months.

This is up 10% on the previous year, according to the Equinix 2023 Global Tech Trends Survey.

“Businesses in Ireland are feeling far more confident about their growth potential this year”

The research suggests that enterprises in Ireland are being more bullish about expansion versus the average business worldwide. Globally, Equinix found that 32% of businesses have plans to expand internationally in the next 12 months.

Equinix’s survey, which included 100 IT decision-makers in Ireland, explored IT leaders’ perceptions and plans relating to expansion. The survey results follow a period of uncertainty as businesses reassessed their economic future and the potential impact of geopolitics on their operations.

Reaching for the clouds

Smiling man in data centre.

Peter Lantry, Equinix Ireland managing director

The research found that 79% of enterprises anticipate expansion at some level – either in Ireland, into a new market, or internationally – up from 74% the previous year. Globally, 74% of businesses have plans to expand in the next 12 months.

The survey found that 44% of businesses with expansion plans will hire IT staff in their new location, while 42% will support the expansion virtually via the cloud. The latter is an increase of 10% on the previous year as more enterprises now see virtual expansion as a cost-effective, flexible element to their overall expansion strategy.

However, these anticipated expansions face external threats such as issues relating to data sovereignty, which has come into focus due to recent geopolitical events.

The majority of IT leaders in Ireland (84%) said that the implementation of new, stricter laws would impact their plans. In the most extreme cases, 13% said that strict new data sovereignty laws would mean that they would no longer consider the expansion, while 43% said that they would press ahead with the expansion but it would require major changes and potential delays to their plans. A smaller portion, 28%, said that it would require minor adjustments to their plans, but that they would still go ahead.

Meanwhile, when asked in what areas they felt least prepared to deal with the challenges of complying with incoming or stricter data sovereignty regulations, 70% of IT leaders in Ireland – versus 56% globally – cited inadequate infrastructure.

“Our research shows that businesses in Ireland are feeling far more confident about their growth potential this year,” said Peter Lantry, managing director for Ireland with data centre giant Equinix.

“With that, we are seeing a marked shift in how enterprises are viewing international expansion. It no longer needs to be a labour-intensive and costly move with boots on the ground. Digital infrastructure is enabling businesses to deploy virtually via hybrid multi-cloud, providing them with the flexibility to scale their operation up and down as needed, without the cost and commitment associated with establishing a physical presence.

“As a leading provider of digital infrastructure for businesses across the globe, Equinix is playing an important role in providing the digital backbone to Ireland’s ambitious export economy as we move towards a truly global, digital world of business.”

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