Majority of Irish firms are not optimised for digital

Huge opportunity for businesses to better leverage digital technologies.

The majority (85%) of Irish organisations across 18 industries are not digitally-optimised or strategic, according to a Digital Maturity study carried out by Irish tech firm ActionPoint.

Effectively there’s a massive opportunity for these businesses across industries such as technology, retail and manufacturing to better leverage digital technologies.

“Putting digital at the core of our business strategy means introducing a continuous digital transformation mindset”

There are some surprising developments, however, as the report shows a 30% increase in low-code and no-code technology adoption year on year. No-code development is a type of web development that allows non-programmers and programmers to create software using a graphical user interface, instead of writing code.

Digital transformation mindset

Almost three in four organisations cite productivity and efficiency as a key reason behind technology adoption; while competitive advantage ranks second in this list at 63%.

While 70% of companies surveyed consider digital fundamental to their business strategy; less than one in three organisations (32%) have a digital training plan and budget in place; with just 27% considering development of digital skills during performance reviews.

Limerick-based ActionPoint was acquired in early 2022 by fast-growing cloud and connectivity player Viatel.

“Our businesses are now faced with different economic challenges; we have high levels of inflation, Covid impacted supply chains, increasing input prices, and high levels of salary inflation; along with the continued challenges of managing a distributed workforce,” said ActionPoint CEO David Jeffreys.

“Putting digital at the core of our business strategy means introducing a continuous digital transformation mindset, offering us a way to address many of these challenges by leveraging better insights from data, optimising processes, and improving resilience. 

“But a business cannot outperform its capability, and embracing a digital business strategy requires investment in digital capability. Yet this year’s report shows the lowest average score across the six dimensions of digital maturity was for digital capability, coming in at just 35%. There are many more interesting insights in this year’s report showing where there are opportunities for Irish businesses to embrace a digital transformation mindset, to improve productivity, and remain competitive in the face of economic challenges.”

27% of Irish companies are increasing technology investment to help with sustainability goals. This figure has increased from 23%, marking an increase in organisational focus on the climate emergency. However, internationally, 29% of respondents are prioritising similar initiatives.

Adoption of HR Management Systems has increased 16% year on year, indicating the growing importance of EX (employee experience). Another key factor in adopting such systems is a renewed focus on managing the remote workforce more efficiently. And with Hybrid working here to stay, 57% of organisations are sticking to collaboration tools like Teams and Zoom, with the uptake remaining close to 2021 levels.

Risk and Compliance received the highest self-assessment score, pointing to a wide understanding of the critical-nature of data and information security. 70% of organisations follow data backup best practice. Furthermore our data shows that 61% have a disaster recovery plan in place. Almost one in two (47%) of organisations conduct regular security audits through third parties to assess their vulnerability.

65% of organisations have indicated digital still remains a priority in the marketing of products and services. However, this number has dropped from 70% in 2021. And when it comes to engaging with their customers, social media continues to grow as a preferred CX (customer experience) tool.

The live nature of platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Messenger enables customers to ask questions and receive responses on their preferred medium. ChatBots have become easier to integrate, programme, and cheaper to operate meaning more organisations are pressing ahead with this increasingly ubiquitous CX technology (+54% YoY). 

Main image at top: ActionPoint CEO David Jeffreys

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.