Firms now appreciate the value of digital

Covid-19 caused 8 in 10 Irish businesses to accelerate digital transformation plans.

There is an increased urgency in digital transformation programmes with 88pc of business and IT leaders claiming their company boards are more likely to approve new digital strategies as a result of the pandemic, according to research from consulting giant Expleo.

Expleo, which played a key role in the creation of the Covid-19 app for the HSE along with Waterford software firm NearForm, says that global Covid-19 lockdown measures forced businesses to rapidly transform as they got to grips with new, virtual ways of working.

“Organisations have learned that digital was not only critical to survival during the pandemic, but in the aftermath, too”

This has resulted in a permanent shift in mindsets with digital services scaling up the value chain.

The global research, which included a survey of 110 business and IT leaders in Ireland, found that the pandemic spurred rapid digitalisation in most organisations operating here. Eight in 10 businesses in Ireland accelerated their digital transformation plans as a direct result of Covid-19 – by an average of 14 months.

Digital world order

Man in grey suit with blue tie.

Phil Codd, managing director, Expleo Ireland

However, compared with other countries, Irish organisations are the least likely to face problems by implementing a “digital first” culture across their business. More than half (53pc) admit this is an issue and 51pc of those surveyed in Ireland say they plan to improve customer experience through digital transformation.

48pc say that it will help them to innovate and bring new offerings to market, while 45pc will seek to transform their business model and ways of working.

To support these goals, 54pc of business and IT decision-makers in Ireland believe that a bold approach to digital technologies will leave them better-placed to succeed.

By comparison, just 28pc believe that a cautious approach that waits for technology to mature is more likely to lead to success. This proactive mindset is matched by a bullish attitude to investment: 66pc of respondents expect to increase tech budgets by at least 10pc in the next five years, with more than one in three (36pc) anticipating an increase in budget of over 30pc.

“Long before Covid-19 was first discovered, digital transformation was already on the agenda for many companies. But from our experience, even the most dynamic, innovative IT departments were facing pushback from their boards of management because they didn’t value, or understand, the role digital played in business success.

“One pandemic later, all of that has changed. Organisations have learned that digital was not only critical to survival during the pandemic, but in the aftermath, too. The world has embraced a transformed reality and businesses need to be ready to adapt quickly to changes in market conditions and consumer behaviours to succeed.

“Inertia rarely goes unpunished and our research finds that success in transformation is reliant on boldness of vision across all levels of an organisation. Only then can businesses equip themselves with the necessary resources to affect better outcomes and a brighter future.”

  • The “Business Transformation Index 2022” can be downloaded from the Expleo website here.
  • Expleo’s “Bold & Reliable Index” tool enables organisations to measure themselves against the nine key criteria outlined in the report. The tool can be found here.

Interview with Phil Codd:


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