Why does digitalisation seem to be a necessity for so many organisations?


"We are expecting a digital disruption milestone by 2020. Business leaders know it is imminent, but are not prepared for it. In fact, 80 per cent of global business leaders believe their industry will be digitally transformed, but less than half have a plan to tackle this.1

"Competitors and new entrants are using cloud computing, data analytics and the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for competitive advantage. Companies like Hailo, AirBnB, and Deliveroo – with little sectoral experience but with customer insights and maximised technology benefits – are disrupting existing industries and securing significant market share."


How can organisations best prepare themselves for making digital changes to their business?


From our experience, this needs to be a multi-layered, fully integrated approach across technology and a cultural change utilising four key pillars:

  • Empower your employees to achieve more by designing a workplace where every working style can thrive – one that harnesses digital intelligence to improve experiences and enables the flexibility of mobility, while keeping your organisation, people and information secure.
  • Engage your customers through natural, tailored experiences that delight them and harness data representing a complete view of your customer.
  • Optimise your operations – accelerate the responsiveness of your business, improve service levels, and reduce costs with intelligent processes that anticipate the future and coordinate people and assets more efficiently.
  • Reinvent products and business models – harness data as a strategic asset and deliver personalisation to customers, by innovating with new business models, services, products and experiences.


What key benefits can Irish businesses see from this digitalisation?


...businesses will achieve higher revenues and gain access to global markets in a fraction of the time it took five years ago.

"Irish businesses must see digital transformation as business evolution. By 2020, Microsoft predicts all companies will be digital companies. But this is not just about fundamental survival; digital transformation can deliver accelerated growth and huge opportunities.

"The most recent Irish government report on the macroeconomic impact of the internet showed that the digital economy contributed six per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), or the equivalent of €12.3billion. The report concluded that this would expand to €21.4billion, or eight per cent of GDP, by 2020.

"Digital transformation will enable Irish businesses to achieve higher revenues and provide access to global markets in a fraction of the time it took five years ago. According to a 2016 report by the IEDR, 80 per cent of Irish SMEs cannot process payments online, and over 72 per cent have no online presence. It is estimated that online spending to sites overseas cost Ireland Inc. €4.5 billion in 2016."


How can current processes and operations benefit from ‘going digital’?


"Effective digital transformation will allow Irish businesses to optimise operations with connected field equipment, integrated CRM and operations workflows, continuous learning and predictive analytics, and processes that move them from analog to digital.

"Another important digital transformation benefit will come through the streamlining of processes with artificial intelligence (AI). AI will play an integral role in digitisation by providing autonomous, smart machine-based processes to improve business outcomes."


Do you feel there are limitations to how far a business can digitally transform?


"Currently, the significant limitation to effective digital transformation is when organisations focus only on technical transformation, while not taking an integrated technical and cultural change approach.

"Additionally, organisations sometimes have a limited view of their digital transformation versus their competition. This ‘digital myopia’ could see these businesses splinter the very thing they seek to transform, their business."


How inclusive is the transformation plan?


"While digital savvy employees in their 20s and 30s might be onboard, our research shows your older employees may feel displaced or even threatened by digital transformation and not taking a fully inclusive approach may limit successful implementation."


1 These findings come from research into digital transformation; globally with Harvard Business Review, and in Ireland with Amárach Research.

At Microsoft, we support digital transformation through a breadth of agile platforms and solutions designed to change and adapt, and that prioritize flexibility, integration and trust.

For further information, please see: enterprise.microsoft.com